What do you do to overcome fear of public speaking?

Roger was a successful executive working with an international technology company. Having just completed his MBA, he was promoted to general manager. In his new role, he would have to give more public presentations to his team in China and the head office in California.

Despite a strong technical background and good industry knowledge, Roger was never comfortable before an important presentation. Up to a week before, a general feeling of anxiety came over him which stopped him from sleeping well at night. On the day, and even hours before, he felt sick while his hands were cold and sweaty. As he stepped up to present, his mouth went dry and his heart was pounding. He could feel his throat tighten and his knees felt weak. He took a few rapid breaths and with trembling lips took his first words.

Fearbuster#1: Work your body

The first step in beating nerves, stress or a bad mood is a good physical condition. Water and oxygen are a great way to keep a healthy body. Imagine yourself standing on top of a mountain looking around breathing in fresh clean mountain air and sipping a bottle of cool clean spring water. You get the picture. It’s making me feel more relaxed already. Now you may not have the benefit of a mountain nearby, so what else can you do? Exercise. My business coach picked this out during one of our sessions. He noticed that whenever I was down on life in general, it was usually at the same time as a drop in my exercising. His solution was to swim, run and cycle more. It worked for me as I love triathlon racing. Here’s how it can work for you too:

1. Have a workout during the week of your presentation. Block out the time and spend two hours doing whatever exercise you enjoy most. Go for a swim, take a run or visit a gym. Finish off with a spa or massage if you have time.

2. On the day of your presentation, take a walk to get some air in your lungs, which improves your blood circulation and controls your nerves. See Fearbuster#4 for more on breathing.

3. A few hours before your presentation avoid drinking tea, coffee or caffeine based soft drinks (including colas). These are diuretics which remove water from your body. You should drink plenty of water as this has a calming effect by making your body aerobic.

4. Just before you come on stage, walk out your nerves. Don’t sit down just before coming on stage. Get the blood moving so you’re coming in at a higher energy level. You can also stretch your neck, shoulders, arms and fingers to relax any tense muscles. Meeting and greeting your audience can help you transform nervous energy and start to create a connection.

About the Author

Warwick J Fahy

Warwick helps C-level executives, working in multinational companies based in Greater China, who struggle to get their point across and influence their key stakeholders. Warwick helps the executive project their message with confidence allowing them to express their opinions powerfully and gain respect from senior managers even when under pressure.”  Learn more about who I help here.

Warwick is the author of “The One Minute Presenter: 8 steps to successful business presentations in a short attention span world”.

Now available on Amazon.com.

New: Read “The One Minute Presenter” as an e-book. Available in all maor e-book formats here.

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