No. The anxiety never completely goes away for most speakers. Before you stop reading, understand that the anxious symptoms can simply become a re-focused energy source for you. We’ve all heard the so-called fact that people would rather die than speak publicly. I’ve known speakers who sweat, and we have all felt our own heart pounding at what feels like a million beats per second. It happens. The challenge is being able to control these reactions enough that they can actually help us to become better speakers. Much of my own anxiety was less fear and more buildup of energy bursting to come out. I have found that I can use this energy within my presentation to engage the audience and channel it into my stage presence.
The butterflies in my stomach may be fluttering, and my legs may be shaking, but I also know ahead of time that they’re coming. Can I redirect them to help me stride onto the stage with purpose, or integrate stronger physical aspects of my speech and thus use the energy to my advantage? Try to understand the most prevalent symptoms you typically get and diagnose what alternate actions you can take to strengthen your message and delivery. Knowing that the feeling may never completely go away can work to your advantage once you stop fighting it and start working to control it, and then use it to enhance your performance.
Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):
- Down the Chute: A Toboggan Tale (children’s book)
- Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
- Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
- Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
- The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
- From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
- The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood