Everyone has experienced a level of anxiety during a presentation and it is perfectly normal to feel nervous when you find yourself in an unfamiliar setting or situation.
I had a conversation with Megan Hamilton of UBU Skills about speaking anxiety and ways around overcoming it. Megan is an experienced coach who through the years has fine-tuned her training process. She truly believes that when we have more women’s voices in the public forum, we will change the world. She has developed tools and techniques to help you be you.
Here are some insights from our conversation;
Introverted-ness and speaking anxiety may be confused because the exhibit similar characteristics. Speaking anxiety is mostly brought about external factors. It may be as deep as a traumatic experience or even an issue with one’s confidence. With proper practice and help, public speaking can be mastered. The anxiety will never be fully eliminated but we can learn how to deal with it.
There are four exercises Megan shared that help combat speaking anxiety
1. Alexander Stance Technique – This is learning to carry a body in a way that communicates you are confident. This method includes maintaining eye contact.
2. Controlled Breathing – In this method the time one breathes in, one holds their breath, and breathing out is calculated. This has a calming effect and slows down your heart rate.
3. Optimum Pitch – The balance of how we speak that causes a reverberation in your chest. This allows one to have a loud voice when delivering a speech.
4. Reading – This technique makes use of text mapping in speeches. These are guidelines as to how you deliver a speech. Reading involves reading 3-7 words before you say them. This way when delivering the said words you are maintaining eye contact with the audience and looking less at the script.
The thing about anxiety is that you only deal with it as much as the work you put in.
Where to start would be;
- Search for resources.
- Work with a coach
- Practice! Practice! Practice!
You can listen to the podcast of our conversation.
Or better yet, you can watch the video to this podcast episode here