by Marianne D’Alessandro | Featured Contributor
Fear is known to all of us in some way. It’s most likely that each of us has a fear or two in our back pocket. I know I have many! We’ve often been told that if we address and face our fears, we can overcome them. So why not face the fear of public speaking. Hmmm, standing in front of a few people and giving a presentation doesn’t seem so bad versus some of my other fears. But I know to some, the fear is genuine and frightening.
My husband loves fishing and he loves going out in his boat to where the fish are. Well, I don’t know how to swim and although I love the water and boat, as soon as it gets a bit bumpy, I’m terrified. If another boat flies by and we get the wake, I am clinging to my seat and shaking. Seems unrealistic and quite dramatic to my husband who has been driving a boat since he was a child, but I just can’t help it.
There are always ways to help address and work through the fear.
On the boat, I know that by sitting upright in the seat keeping my weight on the balls of my feet will help me bounce with the boat. I know that my taking a few deep breaths and enjoying the scenery will help me relax. I know that my life jacket is extremely important. And I know that my husband is conscientious, alert, and a very safe boater. So all of these help me relax and enjoy the ride.
When public speaking, there are many techniques to help address the fear.
- I can’t stress the importance of practice (as discussed in my first blog).
- Find some techniques for deep breathing exercises. One is box breathing – inhale for 3, hold for 3, exhale for 3, and hold for 3.
- Visualize – take the time to visualize yourself in front of the room giving your presentation.
- Have fun – if you get too serious and tense, you’ll be even more nervous. If you’ve taken the time to practice, you’ll be comfortable with the material and you can have fun!
- Remember that you’re human and not always perfect. If you make a mistake and say something incorrectly, just move on. Get back on track with your material and forget about. Chances are, others will forget about it, too!
When something makes us uncomfortable or afraid, we need to find our comfort zone to overcome, or at least address, the fear. Find some techniques that work for you and Keep Calm and Enjoy the Ride!
Marianne D’Alessandro knows how busy an executive can be. Marianne has been an Executive Assistant for 30+ years. She has supported many, many, many senior level execs and is now working toward her own virtual assistant business. Her goal is to save time for her clients by looking after their admin tasks. When it comes to public speaking, she conquered her fear more than 20 years ago by taking, and now instructing, the Christopher Leadership Courses of Canada. The highlight for her was traveling to China to train instructors to teach the course there! Marianne loves seeing people take the challenge and conquer the fear by “taming those butterflies!”