Fear of public speaking (or Glossophobia) is more common than you might imagine, which means if you are reading this post: you’re not alone! Keep reading to find out 3 simple mind tricks, you can call them rituals, that will help you with conquering it.
You are not alone
Have you ever heard of Tony Robbins? I bet you have 😉
There is a very well known documentary about him on Netflix (“I am not your guru“) where he details the rituals he goes through to prepare for a show on stage.
I want to note that in that documentary he says “No, there is no stage freight“, but still if you follow what he does to prepare himself for his shows, it’s mind boggling. And to me it speaks a lot of rituals to curb down his fear of public speaking.
He jumps on a mini-trampoline, submerges himself in cold water, he does a little dance before entering the stage, then claps his hands and does plenty of power-posing (if you don’t believe me watch the videos).
A guy that is world-famous and has done this countless times definitely has his rituals, and my bet is that deep down there are a lot of butterflies in his stomach. And that makes him a VNP: very normal person.
So if Tony Robbins does have fear of public speaking and has to go through complex rituals to get in the zone, why wouldn’t I and why wouldn’t you?
What is that feeling?
The butterflies in the stomach, the goosebumps, the high heart rate, the sweat: what the hell is that?
Our brain was formed thousands of years ago and still has the same mechanisms built-in that our ancestors had. Getting in front of people to speak is interpreted as a battle and our body needs to prepare for that battle.
Huge amounts of adrenaline get pumped in our veins and that is the way to alert our senses and supercharge our performance.
The bad side of it is that for some of us that means being completely frozen and wordless.
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Try to do this
If you believe that this is normal (it is) and it happens to the majority of us (it does) then the only thing you can do is to accept it as a fact of life right? Nope.
You can trick your brain with very simple exercises to help your fear work _for_ you not _against_ you.
None of this will require you to jump on a trampoline or submerge yourself into cold water, no worries 😉
Greet your fear
The first thing I suggest you to do is not to hide behind a macho man image of yourself: normalize the fear. Go as far as greeting it: “Hi fear, great to have you with me, let’s do this together“.
Fighting that feeling will not make it go away, trying to ignore it will not make you stronger, sweeping it under the rug will only make it bigger and bigger.
Accept it, make it part of you, make it your ally. Remember this is adrenaline building up, it’s good, it’s preparing you for the battle of the stage.
Presenting to the top management of your company, or to some very well known investors, or presenting in front of 300 people is a pretty scary thought. For anyone.
And if before entering the stage or the meeting room you do think about your coming performance in those terms I am pretty sure that won’t help you much.
If on the other hand you will frame what’s coming up as a conversation you are going to have with a bunch of people, as important as they might be, or as many as they may be, that will help greatly in calming you down.
You have done plenty of conversations in your life, have you? This is just one more. It will involve a bit of a monologue for the first 10 minutes or so, but nevertheless, it’s going to be a conversation.
Be in the present moment
Don’t think how much you have worked for this presentation, how many topics you want to address or even what kind of words you planned to say (the past).
Don’t think at the consequences that there will be if this goes bad, if you forget a couple of things, if you don’t know how to answer a question (the future).
Just think at the present moment: you entering the stage and speaking. That’s it. There’s no past nor future. There is only now (the present)
And the most beautiful thing of all is that you are the only one in the room that know what you want to say: what an advantage!
Between us I believe that the rituals of Tony Robbins, especially the trampoline jumping are geared exactly towards that: forgetting about everything else than the here and now.
Fear of public speaking is extremely common and absolutely normal, almost physiologic. Good news is that there are simple tricks that can help you with that, and none of those will have you sweat or make you wet like those that Tony Robbins deploys for himself.
Greet your fear – Reframe the situation – Be in the present moment are the 3 simple tricks I suggest you trying.