Presentation Skills Training

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Presentation Skills Training – Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking

According to the Book of Lists, the fear of public speaking ranks #1 in the world. This surprises me for 2 reasons. (1) I would assume that the fear of spiders would be #1 just because that’s my greatest fear and (2) the fear of public speaking is actually above the fear of death. Weird I know. But true just the same.

In the podcast above I provide three ways to overcome the fear of public speaking. For many of us standing before groups and making a presentation or delivering a speech is part of our job. It would be nice to be able to shake some of those fears, wouldn’t it? Check out the following.

Psychological Victory Over the Fear of Public Speaking

fear public speakingWinning the battle over the fear of public speaking starts with the mind, both conscious and subconscious. When we face a speaking situation we tend to allow our minds to be flooded with negative input: “I can’t do this” “The boss will be expecting so much” “What if I bomb?” “If I don’t knock this out of the park, I could get demoted.” These thoughts, and others like them, should be obliterated by what I call “the impact of inversion.”

Inversion simply means to change directions or go in another direction. So, when the negative   thoughts wreak havoc on us, make the INTENTIONAL DECISION to change the way you think. Rather than thinking about how the boss will demote you if you blow it; think about the fact that he or she hired you in the first place. That boss saw something in you that impressed him or her enough to hire you. Also, think of your past victories: graduating college, getting the promotion, landing the client, increasing department revenues, and things like this.

As soon a negative thought enters your mind, replace it with a thought about your past victories and successes

Physiological Victory Over the Fear of Public Speaking

A interesting truth is that energy tends to lower or even eliminate nervous tension. A “secret” I have used for years to lower stress and reduce anxiety is to get my heart rate up before a speaking event.

Truth: faster heart rate = more energy = more confidence = great presentation

Why? I have no clue. I just know it’s true.

Too often we tend to hide in the office before the presentation and pace or just sit in our chair. The nervous tension is there hanging around with us 🙂 . The secret is to leave that environment and go elsewhere and strive to get your heart rate up.

fear public speakingGetting your heart rate up can be done any number of ways. If the weather is favorable I walk around the facilities at an accelerated rate. If weather conditions prevent this, I find a set of stairs and walk up and down them a few times faster than normal. Just do whatever you can and get the blood flowing. That increased heart rate WILL increase your energy level. You will feel more invincible!

By no means do you want to enter the meeting room or auditorium out of breath or sweaty. In other words you don’t want to over-do it. But you do want to do enough to feel a little winded and more energized.

Intellectual Victory Over the Fear of Public Speaking

Here’s a truth: You are no dummy. You have not arrived where you are in your professional life by being less than brilliant. You have something to say and you know things. In fact, you know more than you think you know. Much of what you know is stashed away in the deep recesses of your mind (some call it the sub-conscious mind). Much of what you think you have forgotten is stored deeply in your gray matter.

fear public speakingSo, there are two things I want you to know that you already know (huh?). First, you know that the people in the audience or sitting around the conference table are glad it is YOU giving the presentation rather than them. They have the fear of public speaking too. Just knowing that they would be terrified to do what you are doing puts you in a position of power over them. This makes you the most influential and significant person of the hour. So, enjoy the feeling of power and victory.

Second, you KNOW that you KNOW more than you think you KNOW. Let me explain. When you put the time and effort into preparing the speech or presentation you are operating from experience. In other words, you know how to do research and find pertinent information. You feel good when you have it organized and ready to deliver. But what happens during delivery is that your subconscious mind engages the material and searches it’s data bases for relevant and illustrative information. And that perfectly-timed information just sort of pops in your head. It’s true. Some of that information actually popped in your head while you were doing the initial research. It’s true:

You KNOW that you KNOW more than you think you KNOW

This “instant” stroke of genius will increase your confidence and help you to feel strong and somewhat invincible [but be cool and don’t let in all go to your head 🙂 ]

A Final Thought about the Fear of Public Speaking

Winning the victory over the fear of public speaking is do-able. Simply practicing the three tips I provided will make a world of difference. Of course you can Google search the subject and get lots more insights. But hey, if you are really serious about developing all your skills as a business presenter or public speaker let me encourage you to look into Tom Antion’s training materials. If you want to advance in your career or become a more effective presenter, or both; check out his page.

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Thanks for stopping by!
Questions? Email me at
Tony Guthrie, Ph.D.


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