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The Fear Factor: Mastering The Fear Of Public Speaking, Part II

Apr 20, 2008
Naming your fearful thoughts

In many primitive societies, there is a naming myth. It revolves around the belief that if you call a demon by its name, it can no longer hurt you. Perhaps this is a metaphor for the power of language, or just a useful problem solving technique.

One way of getting "outside" of your fears and seeing them with perspective is the process of having a name for them. A good name helps de-mystify the process.

"Perseveration"

Perseveration is an uncontrolled repetition of a behavior, such as fearful thoughts, long after the reason for the thoughts has vanished. It is a natural process which repeats old behavior long after the reason for it has ceased.

Next time you find your mind fearfully looping over and over again, disengage from the process by reminding yourself, "I'm just perseverating again." You are merely engaged in a thoughtless nervous process. Claim your power.

Authenticity

When we let down the facade to reveal who we truly are, we are more interesting and persuasive. No longer is the audience's "phony" radar activated. Seeing a natural and vulnerable presenter, audiences are more forgiving and receptive.

How can you be more authentic?

Divert a small rivulet of energy away from attempting to satisfy the "powerful others," and focus on speaking from your natural, vulnerable self. With time the false self melts away and you find numerous ways to be more genuine and interesting.

Authenticity elicits buy in.

From your true self you speak unhindered - - unfiltered. This spontaneity is invigorating and infectious. Energized and unfettered, you can naturally incorporate the ease, grace and wit you enjoy with your closest friends. The energy required to fulfill perceived expectations is now yours to use. You uncover your individual style.

Individual style

Individual style is authentic. Your individual style flows out of your personality, that quirky amalgam of choice and chance.

Your presentations, when suffused with your natural expression, are enlivened by your personality.

How do I uncover and develop my individual style?

The key is AWARENESS.

To develop your awareness we employ:

Instructor feedback and coaching
Feedback from your audience (your peers)
Self-evaluation based on your experience presenting
(immediately following a presentation)
Self-evaluation based on watching a videotape of your presentations
Targeted exercises

VISUALIZATION EXERCISE

Take a couple of long moments now to see yourself presenting. Imagine giving the EXACT kind of presentation you want - however that looks to you. If you want to try some gestures during this part of the visualization, you will gain an even deeper kinesthetic preparation.

When you are done imagining yourself delivering your presentation, hear in your mind's ear the enthusiastic applause of your audience. See faces that are pleased, moved and touched by what you've done.

For as long as possible, keep experiencing that feeling of triumphal success. Perhaps you will imagine shaking hands with people as they congratulate you. As you notice that they seem to want more, allow yourself to wallow in the audience's warmth.

Repeat this process as many times as possible. Use the fearful feelings and thoughts to trigger your memory to visualize yet again.
About the Author
The Henderson Group trains and coaches business professionals in the art of communication and presentation through our experiential methodology. Since 1990, The Henderson Group has helped Fortune 500 companies worldwide improve employee productivity and business results through the development of communication skills. You can find us online at SpeakFearlessly.net and HendersonGroup.com or Attend A Workshop
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