Public Speaking: 5 Stages of Fear and What to Do About Them

5 Stages of Fear and What to Do About Them

Stage 1:  The fear of the POSSIBILITY of being chosen to speak.
Tips: It’s going to happen, so say YES!
Start saying positive affirmations out loud to yourself.
Shift mentally from using the (victimizing) words
ex: “I have to give a speech,”
to “…sharing a message,”  or “relating information…”

Stage 2:  The fear that may arise during the PLANNING of the presentation.
Tips: Keep breathing. Take a break. Go for a short walk. Get some fresh air.
Use positive self-talk, “I can do this!”  “I am prepared.”
Then, go back to being focused, feeling more refreshed.
Ask yourself: What is the purpose of this presentation?”
Practice gestures and facial expressions in front of the mirror, or your dog.

Stage 3:  The fear that arises immediately BEFORE the presentation.
Tips: Greet/welcome and small talk with the attendees/co-workers/clients, etc.
If seated, do subtle stretching (curl your toes under, roll your neck…)
Walk around (out of audience sight if possible), move, stretch, breathe!
Your mind may go blank…. so have your opening memorized.

Stage 4:  The fear that arises DURING the presentation.
Tips: Take the focus off yourself (ego), and focus on “serving” the audience.
Use dialogue and conversation to engage the audience.
Ask them questions, and pull those into your presentation.
If not using slides, have simply notes or index cards near by, if needed.

Stage 5:  The fear that arises AFTER the presentation.
Tips: Be gentle with yourself! Acknowledge what worked! Celebrate you do it!
Allow 24 hours before “critiquing” your presentation.
Recognize what areas to improve in next time, and do them!

Need more help shifting those fears to work for you?

A Public Speaking Guidebook

A Public Speaking Guidebook

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– Sheryl Roush, Speaker and Speaker Strategies Expert

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