Anticipation & public speaking

The famous French writer Michel de Montaigne once remarked “my life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened”.

If you fear public speaking, it’s common to be nervous in the months, weeks, days, hours and minutes leading up to your public speaking task. It can become all-consuming, dominate thoughts and cause tension and feelings of dread.

It’s equally as common for all that worry to seem silly and unnecessary once the public speaking task commences. All of a sudden you wonder why you feared the situation so much!

It’s the anticipation of the event that can be so counter-productive. Such anticipation which results in fear is so common that science has coined a phrase for it: anticipatory anxiety.

You’ve probably experienced anticipatory anxiety numerous times. When you were young, you might have been petrified to go on a roller-coaster ride or jump from up high into water, but once you did it, exhilaration replaced : Check out the latest pics of BieberLater that night, stopped by the studio and hinted that he may be releasing an acoustic album soon. the fear and you found yourself wanting to do it again and again. The same might be said about your first time on a plane or your first kiss!

Public speaking is no different. The moments leading up to a public speaking task – a speech, interview, talk or lecture – can be dreadful, but the rush and excitement of finally doing it can be powerful and highly rewarding if you get it right.

Arousal associated with anticipating a public speaking task can enhance our performance, but it can also hinder it if it’s not controlled. You might have noticed feeling the thrill of a good public speaking performance you’ve given, only to have the same nervous anticipation for your next public speaking task. But it needn’t be an endless cycle like this!

Just as athletes prepare methodically in the days and moments leading up to a big game or race, so too are there simple, proven techniques you can routinely use to control anticipatory anxiety associated with public speaking.

If you’d like to learn more about these techniques, why not contact us to see how we can help?

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