Public Speaking Myth #1: Guaranteed to Keep You From Success!

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Myth Number 1 declares that performance nerves are to be expected; everyone has them. Further, that they are necessary. They are what gives a speaker the energy to be exciting or interesting.

Let’s take a hard look at these assumptions. What happens to you, personally, when you have an attack of Performance Jitters? A case of Rollicking Stage Fright?

  • Your predominant emotion is that of dread. You want nothing so devoutly as to Get Out of Here!
  • You get tight around the chest and diaphragm. Your breathing–if any–becomes shallow and your energy wanes.
  • You sweat. (Icky!)
  • Your mouth dries up and you can scarcely swallow.
  • Your hands shake.
  • Your knees knock and are in danger of collapsing.
  • our mind goes blank; did I have a speech in there somewhere? Gone!
  • In other words, your body tries to shut down! Now why would such unpleasant body symptoms serve you? Do they really make you an exciting and interesting speaker?

    It’s important to separate stage fright and the deep fear of speaking in public from excitement. Think of excitement, not as dread, but as pleasant anticipation. When you’re looking forward with pleasure to an activity your body does not try to shut down. It perks up. Your brain goes into high gear. What is about to take place feels good, fulfilling, gratifying, perhaps fun.

    You may indeed be one of those people who has some of the good feelings, but still suffers from several of the nasty ones.

    5 Tips that will stop your Stage Fright suffering:

    1. Think about your responses to having to speak. Separate the actual fear-symptoms from the excitement feelings.

    2. See how many of the negative responses you can shift to the excitement category.

    3. Learn and use deep breathing in your daily life and certainly use it in your speaking life!

    4. Check out your Self Talk. If it’s full of “I’m going to be a failure”, consciously change it to “I’m an excellent speaker and I enjoy speaking in public.” Never mind if that’s a screaming lie at this moment. Your subconscious mind, which has diligently followed your instructions to make you feel like a failure can change its tactics and, over time, alter your belief so that you do indeed enjoy speaking in public and you become very good at it. However, it takes considerable discipline to continually remind yourself to cancel your negative Self Talk and replace it with healthy thoughts. It’s worth it!

    5. Various energy techniques and hypnosis can be very powerful in developing and fulfilling positive, healthy expectations.

    During my thirty-some years as therapist and public speaking coach I’ve observed that these techniques work very well for many people. If, however, a person has underlying and deep feelings of insufficiency, counseling may be helpful in clearing out the personal debris to free up a person to be–and to feel–truly successful.


    Carole McMichaels


    Carole McMichaels: Speaker, Therapist, Musician, Coach, Author: “Fearless Public Speaking: How to Get Rid of Your Stage Fright and Prepare and Deliver a Winning Presentation”, invites you to to visit her website and download your free report, “How to Write a Mind-Gripping Speech”.

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