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Gone in 5 minutes: 3 easy hacks that made my fear of public speaking disappear forever
You finally found it: I have been speaking professionally for a while now, but only a couple of years back, I was scared to death to get up on stage or even in front of the classroom. Hell – I was even nervous to speak at the dinner table. I always stayed below the radar and that strategy kept me safe, until…
In my senior year at university, I was nominated for student government senator of the business college. I really wanted to have this position on my resume, and I even knew for sure that I was the right guy for the job!
BUT, it meant I needed to speak in front of the entire student government. Just thinking about it, gave me that anxiety in the pit of my stomach. After a lot of back and forth, I decided to do it, but I was going to prepare like I have never prepared anything before.
I convinced myself that enough work before would take the edge off the performance moment.
I wanted to succeed so bad, that I buried myself in books on public speaking, psychology, personal development, theater and memory training. I interviewed guys from the debate team, fraternity presidents, TA’s, theater majors and everyone I thought would have some insights on being on stage and feeling good.
The findings changed my perspective on public speaking and my performance forever.
It was among all this material, that I came across 3 hacks, that shifted everything at once.
Get my months of prep and research in 3 easy, simple hacks:
- Turn fear into positive power
I came across an article by personal development superstar and high performance celebrity coach Tony Robbins. He talked about coaching a famous country music singer that was battling sudden symptoms of stage anxiety.
She described: “Right before I need to go out on stage, I feel cramped, I have difficulty breathing and my stomach feels weird. Then I know – I can’t go out there!”
Robbins was able to reframe her paranoia by telling her about a famous football quarterback.
He responded to the same situation as follows: “Right before I step out onto the field, I am feel anxiety in the pit of my stomach, my hands get sweaty and my heart starts pumping. I am terrified – That’s when I know I’m READY!”
This simple shift of perspective helped me as well and I am sure it can do wonders for you as too! You decide what you think – and you become your thoughts – So choose them wisely!
- Don’t memorize words, memorize places
One of my biggest fears was forgetting the words. Even I would take the time to memorize everything, what if I blacked out? It was not until I came across an ancient memorization technique used by memory world champions, that I was able to win the momorization game once and for all!
In line with this technique, developed by the ancient Romans, you connect an item on a list to a location you are very familiar with, for example your home.
In your mind, create 10 locations in your home (parking lot, elevator, front door, hallway, kitchen, living room etc). Lets imagine you need to memorize items from a grocery-shopping list (bread, milk, water, cereal etc). Simply place the items in the different locations and add some “mental grip” to the mental image, by making the situations absurd.
-On the parking lot, there is a giant loaf of bread, towering over all the other cars
-As you get into the elevator, there is a cow standing inside, reminding you of milk
-As you approach the front door, there has obviously been a flood and water is coming out from underneath your door
-Entering your hallway, pieces of cereal are flying at you like miniature meteors
The mind works much more effectively when processing vivid pictures and strong visual stimulation. The familiarity of the location creates an strong base, as the absurdity of the pictures associated with the items on your list makes the image stick!
- Stand, breath and smile
As crazy as it sounds, the biggest gamechanger for my public speaking success, was also the most simple. While looking through books on meditation and mindfulness, I learnt about the power of the mind-body connection.
A very simple “state-break” in the physiology (the body) could dramatically change my psychology (the mind).
Simply by standing up straight, smiling and breathing deeply (in through the nose, out through the mouth), it took me only about 10 seconds to feel calm, relaxed and energized. I go through this short routine before every major speaking engagement I have to this day and it helps me tap into my speaking A-game every time.
I truly hope that this shortcut through months of crazy research will help you excel at your speaking as much as it did for me. The whole thing is in your head, trust me. Use these hacks, to tap into centuries of wisdom and save yourself the time and nerves to find all this stuff – I blazed the trail for you on this one and truly know for certain you will kill every presentation from this day forth!
BTW: I got the senator seat and enjoyed every second up there in front of the crowd!
In case you enjoyed this and want to learn more, be sure to grab my ((3 tactics for memorizing any speech)), no matter if it’s 10 minutes or 10 hours. This cheat-sheet also includes the location method, so if you liked that, you will love the other two strategies!
If this was nothing new to you and you want to get cracking on your upcoming speech right away – you should get my new ((speech writing course)). This is the blue print I use for all my material. This will shave hours off of your prep work and allow you to work on the delivery and not the writing, as you have my winning structure – this is paint by numbers!
All the very best to you and enjoy your time on stage!
Thanks again, Matthew