Mind-trick That Can Help With Public Speaking Fear

Here's a mind-trick for public speaking fear that many of my clients have found very useful. Imagine that you've just given a talk and it's gone well. You're now successfully on the other side of it, and have just been congratulated by your boss...or you phone your friend and tell them that it went well. This mind-trick - imagining that you've already successfully presented your talk - can work really well to counteract the negative, pessimistic thoughts or images which will inevitably surface at some point before you get up to speak (unless you're a supremely confident speaker, in which...

6 ways you can short-change yourself when you speak in public

Ways You Can Short-change Yourself When Speaking In Public In my work I frequently see clients unintentionally diminish and short-change themselves as they communicate. I’ve also done some of these things myself! Because our listeners take their cue from us as we speak, it’s vital not to let unhelpful habits cloud our message. So, what can go wrong, and how can you fix it? Here are some pitfalls and solutions: 1. Not trusting your ideas fully enough. Not trusting in the power of your ideas to make a difference in the world is often the biggest internal block to overcome. Believe that you have...

Need to motivate yourself? What’s better, self-esteem or self-compassion?

Trying to rev yourself up to improve your speaking skills? There has been some interesting research done recently into what helps you to feel better about yourself: self-esteem or self-compassion? Psychological studies are finding that self-compassion - being kind to yourself - is more effective than high self-esteem when it comes to helping people to make changes in their lives. Wisdom Compassion Kindness ~db~ via Flickr When you want to see new possibilities, to motivate yourself to make changes and take action in the outer world, self-esteem isn't all it's cracked up to be. A study by Kristin Neff from the University...

How to Positively Change Your Expectations for Speaking Success

In my last post I talked about how the expectations you set for yourself around your public speaking can really influence whether or not you achieve the results you're after: the article is here if you missed it. And I suggested that according to the latest brain research - and what I've seen work for clients and myself - is this: Aim very high long-term, and low, short-term.  Today I'm giving you a plan which you can try the next time you're stressing out about your presentation and want to change your brain state to reduce your expectations to something more...

Public Speaking Like Facing a Firing Squad? One Client’s Belief

What would you answer, if I asked you to complete this statement: “speaking in public is like____________________”? Public Speaking Like a Firing Squad?  A new client, let’s call her Alice, was telling me recently that when she first entered her (particularly male-dominated) area of academia 30 years ago, giving a presentation was known amongst her peers as “facing the firing squad”. The audience would lean eagerly towards Alice, armed and ready to rip apart every assertion she made.  And 30 years later, Alice still feels this way - only now, she’s moved into a new area where the audience is waiting with...

Power posing: how it can help with your presentation skills

Power Pose 2010 This weekend I had some spare time and went to TED.com to explore new videos of some of the best speeches in the world today. If you haven't been aware of TED before, it stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, starting life as a conference in 1984. It's now one of the best learning tools for any aspiring speaker. I found a brilliant speech - recently posted - by Amy Cuddy, who is a social scientist at Harvard Business School, and I couldn't wait to share it with you! In Amy's 20 minute speech (most TED talks are about...

Introvert? 4 Ways to Blast Through your Resistance to Presenting in Public

If you're an introvert, you may struggle to speak in public and plan to avoid it whenever you can; getting up in front of a group can seem like an insurmountable hurdle if you tend to avoid the spotlight. Yet you may need or want to present well; you have ideas to share, and it really bothers you that you don't feel competent at presenting. If you want to be able to get up and speak but feel as though you're fighting yourself as it's happening, it's worth knowing this (I discovered this concept through Susan Cain's writing; her book...

How to change your negative beliefs about speaking: 5 step plan

Choosing new beliefs I sometimes work with clients who have seen themselves as poor speakers for a long time, often many years. They may turn up for coaching or come along to one of my courses with the attitude of "well I'll give this a go, but it won't really change anything". Our beliefs run our lives - they underlie how we relate to the world. But you don't have to feel so stuck around public speaking, and you don't have to sabotage yourself by letting your past experience dictate the present moment. Sometimes I think that we over-complicate things...so with...

Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking: Playing at the Edges of your Comfort Zone

Stretching your comfort zone edges I've recently gone back to yoga classes after a break of 10 years or so, and one thing about doing the poses which confused me initially, was knowing how to distinguish between intensity during a stretch versus discomfort or pain. Intensity is another word for energy flow, and that's what you're after in yoga, and public speaking. But where does intensity tip over into negative, unhelpful territory, and how can you stop that from happening? The solution, I've found, is learning how to "play at the edges" of my comfort zone, my limits, without going too...

A Tip to Stop Self-Doubts Before You Go On Stage

Phoenietzsche via Flickr A client asked me recently about how to stop the fearful, negative thoughts which kick in like clockwork in the hours before she has to present. You probably know how she feels: so unhelpful, isn't it?! And while there are a few different ways to tackle this issue, there's a practical strategy - which I'll share in a moment - which I've been  using successfully with my speaking clients. I've also used it myself for years, before giving a keynote talk or playing in a high-pressure concert. And as I've been planning this article - while working my way...