“I feel I am good at my job, but when it comes to getting up in a meeting or making a presentation, I just lose my confidence and my voice starts shaking. I want to get up and make an important point and contribute to the discussion but just can’t gather the courage to speak. I especially feel like an idiot when 2 minutes later someone else makes exactly the same point.
Some years ago, I read a research from the USA. It said that in a survey 92% people claimed that they are afraid of public speaking. And the other 8% were lying.
The point I am making is that everyone is afraid of public speaking initially. It is a skill that we acquire through practice over time.
While you do that, here are some quick tips to get you started:
1. Rehearse your presentation a few times before the D-Day.
2. Usually the problem occurs when we have to get started. But once we begin, carrying on is not a problem. So mug up word-by-word what you are going to say. If you can get past the first 5-6 lines, you will begin to feel confident.
3. Frame the situation in your mind as the one where you are giving your unique thought as your contribution rather than ‘OMG, I have to make a presentation’.
4. Arrive a few minutes before the meeting/presentation. Interact with other members. Once we are familiar with the audience/colleagues, we will be at ease. This is because we are generally afraid of the unknown. So make the ‘unknown’, ‘known’.
5. Gain knowledge. And there is no substitute for this point. The more you know, the more confident you will feel as well as sound.
6. Lastly, our nervousness has to do with our mind travelling into the future and imagining that we are going to screw up. But when we stay in the present moment we will not be nervous. There are several ways of doing that. The best is 5 deep breaths as you experience them going in and out, very very slowly.
Hope this helps.
Sasha Shruti Varma is one of the leading Psychotherapists in India. She is a licensed practitioner in India and the UK registered with the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists. As a practitioner of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, she likes to combine the principles of Yogic Philosophy in her psychotherapy work. Sasha is also a leading Trainer and Coach for Emotional Intelligence in the corporate world.
If you have a question for her please write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org.