I’m convinced that it’s nearly impossible to get through life without speaking in public. Perhaps you are asked to give a toast at a wedding. Maybe you want to give a eulogy at a dear friend’s funeral. Maybe you’re invited to speak to a group of potential contributors for the charitable organization you’re a part of. Maybe you are called upon to speak to your peers at work to give an update on your department’s progress.
Whatever the case may be, there are so many situations in life where we could find ourselves standing in front of a group of people and trying to inform or persuade them. How would you do in that situation?
For some, the fear of public speaking is debilitating enough for them to do whatever is necessary to get out of the situation. For many, that fear causes extreme anxiety but they push through and speak anyway. Being able to speak effectively means potentially advancing in your work or social life or bringing honor to the deserving person you’re speaking about. It’s important, then, to be able to speak effectively and to overcome your fear.
One way to help you is with a visualization technique. I advise people who are planning on presenting to visualize themselves taking the stage and giving an incredible presentation. The result? They feel the scenario long before they deal with it and they enjoy the visualized success. This builds confidence and having confidence helps to create actual success. Here’s how you an visualize your way to a successful presentation:
First, imagine that you’re sitting there in the room. Imagine the room and its surroundings in detail, including the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and temperature. Are there others nearby? Is someone wearing perfume? Did you just drink the too-strong coffee? Picture the scenario exactly as you expect it to be.
Next, imagine yourself being called to the stage in the manner that will likely happen. Sometimes it’s an introduction by the Master of Ceremonies, or maybe it’s a glowing report by your manager. Imagine yourself standing and walking to the stage. In your imagination, think about every step you’ll take and each breath you inhale and exhale as you go.
Now, imagine taking the stage and beginning your speech. Imagine the speech in detail: visualize yourself speaking, thinking on the spot, interacting with the audience. Don’t gloss over your speech, but actually deliver it while doing this visualization exercise. Imagine yourself hearing your voice booming over the audio system. Imagine yourself referencing some of the visuals that you might have with you. Imagine the sights and sounds that you’ll experience as you present.
Lastly, imagine the audience. As you present, visualize them enthusiastically responding to you. Imagine them nodding in agreement or writing copious notes because of what you have to say. And finally, imagine them applauding enthusiastically as you finish and then rushing out to perform the ultimate action you want them to take (for example, to donate money to your cause or to buy the product you’re selling). Visualization: it’s an effective way to practice your presentation.
Deborah Torres Patel is an internationally acclaimed Voice & Presentation Coach. Sign up for a complimentary 35 lesson voice & presentation skills online training course at http://www.expressingyou.com. To dramatically reduce fear of public speaking, register for 20 free lessons at http://www.fearlessinfive.com.
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