Is anxiety the main obstacle preventing you from becoming an influential speaker?
Stress and anxiety are the top reasons behind enrolling in public speaking training sessions, and they are also perceived as the culprits leading many people to believe they are incapable of delivering successful speeches or presentations. Despite the fact that anxiety brings discomfort and it feels like a burden, it is not actually the main reason why your public speaking skills are not progressing.
When I posted a poll on my social media platforms, asking professionals: 'What's the top barrier that stops you from being connected or persuaded by speakers and presenters?”, their top choice was “Non-Interactive Speakers" for 35%, while “stressed speakers” came at the bottom of choices with for 12%!
If this should tell you something, It should enlighten you that being egoistic, non-interactive, or reading from your slides are actually reasons that you should take into consideration instead of focusing your energy on how stress might affect your speaking engagement.
When we deal with stress in public speaking, we go through a process of acceptance, awareness, healing, and concept shifting. But in order for this process to succeed, we cannot skip the other elements that help in the success of speaking opportunities. You cannot perform a monologue, egoistic or boring performance, and then ask why you’re being over-stressed about your audience’s disinterest or frown faces. Because simply these other elements will have an indirect influence on your anxiety and how you feel about your presentations. Let me show you how.
1) Bring approachable
When you perform with modesty, while keeping an approachable style and wearing a smile on your face, the audiences are most likely to ask you questions, engage verbally and non verbally with you, and will be glad to contribute positively to your content, which will eventually eliminate your stress.
2) Avoiding reading from your slides
Do you know why we call them visual aids? Because they are assisting tools, they should NEVER be the main hero of your presentation. Maintaining eye contact with your audience and having your body positioned towards them instead of giving your back to them, will make your audience more attentive and will prevent them from checking their phones or getting bored. When your audience's senses are all with you, you’ll feel more in control which will definitely boost your confidence.
3) Engaging with your audience
When you trigger your audience’s thoughts and feelings, they will not only interact with you during your presentation but also they will most likely remember your content afterward. And wouldn’t it be great when you meet people who attended your previous presentation, and they tell you that they still remember your words? Won’t it make you feel more open to new speaking opportunities and become excited about them? I’m sure yes!
It’s okay to feel stressed and it’s completely normal to take your time in handling it. But it’s crucial to understand that the success formula is full of many other elements that are with higher weight and influence.