- Preparing in advance (huge help to reduce fear)
- Practicing your presentation (you can never practice too much!!)
- Giving your presentation to different groups so that you become so familiar with it, you don't need any notes or slides
- Taking the focus off of you and focusing on the value that you are providing (it's not about you - it's about the audience)
- Believing in the value you are providing
- Authentically loving/appreciating your audience
- Allowing yourself to make mistakes
- Breathing, exercising, meditating - get out of your head and into your body. Meditation is a physical activity not a mental one so much because you focus on your breathing to get into a relaxed state.
Although the methods on this list are highly effective for reducing and eliminating anxiety, they simply don't help people who feel powerless to stop stressing about speaking. These type of people are still focused on themselves, and can't seem to shift that focus no matter what. Stress about speaking is not anything external; it's all internal. Anxiety is mostly a product of the mind. Therefore, the focus is inward and the thoughts are actually causing the stress. But, knowing this, for some people, doesn't make any difference. These type of people feel powerless to change.
In these extreme and probably common cases, there are alternative methods for eliminating any anxiety which may stem from a childhood incident/decision (or a past life!) or could be because of health issues (as viewed by acupuncturists). I have heard some people say that they take drugs or supplements to calm their nerves. I do not advocate masking anxiety with drugs or supplements, at least not as a permanent solution. Why do that when you can eliminate the issue all together and become healthier in the process? Healthy alternative and effective methods include:
- Acupuncture - In a recent workshop, an attendee shared that she had received an unexpected benefit from acupuncture, the freedom from a lifelong anxiety problem. This was interesting news to me. In the past, I had several acupuncture sessions for arm pain from a fall and found that the acupuncture cleared up other health issues that I had. So, I was pleasantly surprised to hear about acupuncture clearing up anxiety as an unintended result. I did a little research and found an interesting article specifically about acupuncture treatment for anxiety: www.acupuncture.com/newsletters/m_july10/anxiety.htm. In the article, they explain that anxiety is a result of energy that is blocked in certain organs and that well-being is a by-product of freedom from energy blocks. If you are in Houston, I highly recommend my acupuncturist, David Trevino. David can be reached at the Acupuncture & Nutrition Clinic. His website is www.acupunctureandnutritionclinic.com. You may think this is strange, but I found acupuncture to be one of the most relaxing therapies I have ever experienced.
- Hypnosis - Michael Yeager, a certified clinical hypnotherapist who attended one of my workshops in Houston, shared with us that fear of public speaking could be eliminated in 1-3 hypnosis sessions. My understanding about hypnosis is that it's similar to meditation at the start where you are taken through a series of breathing and visualization exercises to relax you. Then you are taken into the highly suggestive hypnotic state. I have never been hypnotized before so I can't say with experience how effective it is. However, Michael Yeager, is a nationally known and respected holistic healthcare practitioner whom I trust. I believe Michael wholeheartedly that hypnosis could be an excellent way to overcome anxiety. Michael has several acronyms after his name! You can find more info about Michael at his website: www.contemporaryteaching.com.
- Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping) - EFT is a relatively new therapy that is similar to acupuncture in that you are tapping on certain points on your hands, face and head. I have used EFT and found it to be effective in dealing with worry. However, I am impatient and don't like doing the work. I would rather do acupuncture because someone else does the work and I can just relax!! But, if you want to try something yourself, EFT can be a great alternative method. You'll find demonstrations of EFT on YouTube. Just do a search for "EFT for Anxiety."
- The Landmark Forum (www.landmarkeducation.com) - Landmark Education offers the most incredible training I have ever experienced. There 3-day introductory course, The Landmark Forum, covers several distinctions relative to the study of "being." I have witnessed shy people became easily self-expressed by the end of the 3 days, where they are up front at the microphone authentically sharing about their lives. In particular, they share how, before they took the course, they would have never gotten in front of a group to share. The Landmark Forum promises to free you of the restraints of the past and open up new possibilities in your life where they have not existed before. As a veteran student of their programs and seminars, I can attest to the incredible transformation I have experienced in my abilities to communicate authentically, connect with people, and live pretty much drama-free. (I was a drama queen in my 20's - I didn't even know it at the time - Ha!)
- Essential oils therapy - I have recently begun using essential oils for everyday problems. For example, lavender oil for mosquito and ant bites, burns, bruises, and headaches. It's amazing stuff! I have learned that there are essential oils for just about every health problem. I don't understand how they work, but I have never quite understood how electricity works either. In doing a little bit of research, I have found that there are 12 different essential oils for anxiety and of course lavender is on the list. Just smelling these wonderful oils, can reduce anxiety - of course smelling something means taking a deep breath which is relaxing.
- Fitness and nutrition - Too much caffeine and sugar can easily exacerbate anxiety issues. A fitness and nutrition program can benefit anyone, especially someone who is worried and anxious about speaking. Simple things like eating healthier, getting adequate and restful sleep at night, drinking more water, and exercising regularly can help bring about a healthier you and a confident speaker. There are a lot of fitness and nutrition programs out there. You'll know which one is right for you by finding the one that you feel you can and will commit to!
- The Rubber Band - When I was going through a stressful time of my life (a divorce after 15 years of marriage), I read about a method to help me stop thinking about things that caused me grief and to think of something that gave me a feeling a peace. The method involved wearing a rubber band on my wrist and every time I had a grief-causing thought, to snap the rubber band and then visualize a peaceful, joyful time in my life. This action trained me to stop thinking about things that caused me unhappiness and anxiety. It worked because I was committed to being happy.
The key is to know what you want and isn't that to be happy, healthy, peaceful and joyful?
To learn more about how to become a confident, in-demand speaker, please visit www.speakupstandoutconnect.com/success and learn about my value packed online course.