In Part 1, we learned some physical activities that we can do to prepare your body to battle speech anxiety. In Part 2, we will look at some mental exercises you can employ to calm your mind before a presentation.
Meditate – Whether you are mediating on a Bible verse or focusing on your breathing while sitting in your happy place, meditation is like a workout for your mind. It can give you strength and focus to filter out negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength. Sit comfortably, focus on your breathing and bring your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or the future.
Visualize – Visualize what you would like to happen before it happens. See yourself calmly presenting your speech. Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice the audiences movements and their facials expressions; expressions of sadness after a tragic story or expressions of joy after hearing a triumphant story of victory. Visualize how thrilled they are after hearing you speak.
Many years ago, I was invited to present at a conference of more than 500 people. I was honored, but I was also terrified. Being an introvert, this was way beyond my comfort zone. Realizing that this was my opportunity to get past my fear of speaking. So, I made a decision. I decided that I would visualize exactly the way I wanted it to go. For 30 days prior to the conference, I went to a quiet room and sat in my favorite chair and I visualized being introduced by the Master Coordinator who invited me. I saw myself calmly step on the stage and begin to tell my story. I saw those in the audience reacting to the tragedy of my story. Then I shared how I had triumphed against great odds and I watched their sorrowful tears turn to tears of joy as they went on the journey with me. I visualized them leaping to their feet when I finished my speech to thunderous applause.
When the day arrived, I was introduced with grace and I took the stage confidently (why, because I had been there 30 times before). The audience was captivated. They laughed, they cried, they traveled the emotional rollercoaster ride with me. And when I finished everyone in the building jumped to their feet in thunderous applause that lasted for several minutes. And to top it all off, the Master Coordinator, a tough former football coach, came up to me as I got off the stage, weeping, hugging me and thanking me for making an impact on his organization. After his expression of gratitude, a huge line formed down the middle aisle of the ballroom of people who wanted to thank me for inspiring them. The last one in line was Terry Slattery, International Speaker and Trainer, who I admired greatly. He took my hands in his and he thanked me for delivering such an important message with dignity, class and grace. He said that he could go home after hearing my speech and it would have been worth the hundreds of miles he had flown to get there.
It happened just as I had visualized…only better!
My hope is that you learn to visualize the outcome you want to happen and be able to experience the wonder of realizing your dreams.
Do you have a story of using meditation or visualization to combat speech anxiety? Please share it with me. I’d love to hear about it.
A future free from speech anxiety is possible. Learn more at https://engagingspeakers.com/
Gail Brown, Founder of Engaging Speakers, firstname.lastname@example.org