Apparently public speaking of any kind whether it is to large or small groups is the number one fear that people have. Here’s a way to deal with that feeling you called nervousness.
First of all ask yourself what is making you feel nervous? My guess is you think about doing the talk by seeing yourself up there, frozen, unable to speak or just doing a bad job. This is followed by a negative feeling. You may also add a bit of self talk, telling yourself in a harsh tone of voice how bad you are and then getting an even worse feeling.
I have an event coming up sometime later, maybe July, giving a talk on my book, “Mutual Mindfulness” and I am a bit nervous about doing it. So I thought I could go through what I am actually doing to create that feeling I call nervousness.
What is causing me to feel nervous?
When I think about doing this talk the first thing I am aware of is a feeling but feelings don’t just happen on their own, in my case it is triggered by a vague internal image seeing myself at some venue on some stage and it has a light orange colour but no detail. I think this vagueness and lack of detail helps to create the nervous feeling.
I have a strategy of building an internal image and getting a bad feeling. The next time round I add a critical internal voice which might make belief statements such as I am not good enough, I’ll never be able to do that, I don’t have the personality and then feel really nervous.
What often happens next is that the whole sequence of thinking repeats, loops around so
When you want to interrupt that process of intensifying the nervous feeling, visualise a different picture at the start.
So I might create in my mind a different picture that is clear and sharp and see myself preparing the beginning of my talk and see a smile of enjoyment on my face, speak to myself in an encouraging tone of voice and get a really good feeling.
I’ll run this around again, probably 5 or 6 more times to groove in new neural pathways so when I think of doing the talk, I now get a really nice feeling. This is encouraging so I can now get down to the planning and continuously monitor how I’m feeling and run the new strategy whenever necessary.
This is how to manage how you feel to help motivate you to get started on your talk or presentation.