Does the very thought of giving a speech cause you stress and send shivers down your spine? Have you ever wondered why, when you give a speech, your words come out fast and furious? Or when you’re describing an accident, your words come quickly? So quick, in fact, that you have to repeat yourself because you’ve left words out — and sometimes even entire sentences! Stress causes the rhythm of your speech to speed up and the space between your words to shorten.
This is a sure sign of being anxious. If you’re experiencing anxiety, it’s likely to have a negative impact on your presentation. While you may realize that this negative effect will only make matters worse, you’re usually not in a position to alter your state of mind. The negative effect then becomes even stronger. It’s not until you find a way to break this negative cycle that you can gain control of your speech.
The results of this quick anxious speech pattern will find you making the very mistakes that you’re desperately trying to avoid. This anxiety is unnecessary but can’t be avoided when you obsess about looking and being perfect. The harder you try, the more unnatural and strained the presentation, and more mistakes you’ll make.
Six signs of stress before and during a speech:
1. Becoming confused and jumbled when giving a speech
2. Feel constant fear of forgetting what you prepared to say
3. Breathing faster just before starting your speech
4. When you make a mistake, finding it hard to concentrate
5. You feel your heart beat faster when presenting
6. Feeling so nervous while giving a speech that you forget what you know
So how do you remain calm? It may not be easy but it’s doable. Here are 7 calming tips.
1. Prepare thoroughly for your presentation and speech by knowing your material well
2. Eat properly don’t be excessively hungry or full
3. Short personal routine just before the speech, such as a short prayer, 1 minute of meditation and set your intention to be a conduit of information
4. Take deep breaths and smile just before you begin to speak.
5. If you get confused, catch up with your thoughts by taking a sip of water and smiling and saying something simple like “lets go on.” This is an easy way to relax and catch up with your thinking.
6. Focus for a moment on a friendly face
7. Let yourself off the hook. Remember people are rooting for you, and they know we are all human. So don’t beat yourself up for any mistakes. There are no mistakes — only learning experiences.
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From Linda Hampton RN, MSN A Wellness and Stress Management Coach
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