Public speaking stress and anxiety is very common. In fact, the fear of public speaking is the most common phobia, ahead of the fear of spiders, heights, and even death. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 73 percent of the population experiences this anxiety, usually because they fear judgement or negative evaluation.
One theory as to why so many humans experience this fear, is explained by Darwin’s theory of evolution. Despite our reasoning powers, human beings still have primitive instincts. One of those instincts is the fight-or-flight response, which causes us to flee from a perceived danger or stand up and fight.
Notable Leaders, including Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Warren Buffett, and Joel Osteen, all suffered from public speaking anxiety. If they can overcome their fears, so can you!
5 Ways to Reduce Public Speaking Stress
Use these tips to work through your public speaking stress:
- Understand that the butterflies are excitement, not fear.
- Imagine a white light surrounds and protects you.
- Visualize applause, doing well, and what the positive outcome it: People love the presentation, people use the information to improve their lives or work.
- Create an anchor word to reduce the stress and repeat it before presenting. Anchor words could be: Peace, Energized, Security, Love, Calm.
- Smell a calming scent, such as vanilla.