Warning: This is going to sound backwards. Trust in me for a few minutes. Here goes:
Failure is the way to success. Discomfort is the exchange for success. When you have self-confidence, you can create amazing success because you’re willing to keep going. Self-confidence is your ability to know that you can handle any negative emotion and keep going.
It’s believing in your ability to do what you are afraid to do. Self-confidence doesn’t come from simply believing you can speak in front of people. Self-confidence comes from knowing that if you fail (your perceived perception of failure) you’re going to be okay.
“I’m going to go up there and speak in front of people, and I’m self-confident in doing it because no matter what happens, I will have my own back, I will take care of myself.” The more you do that, then the easier it becomes to rely on yourself.
Set realistic expectations. No one is perfect. Public speaking is difficult to master; even seasoned speakers make mistakes. Instead of telling yourself that you have to deliver your speech flawlessly, think realistic thoughts like, “If I lose my place, I will calmly scan my notes and then continue my speech” or “Small mistakes aren’t going to ruin my speech.”
When a negative thought comes to mind, catch it and replace it with a positive thought. For example, if you think, “I’m going to forget what to say and just stand there,” replace that with thoughts like, “I’ve done a great deal of research and I know this topic well” and “I have practiced my speech many times and I’m ready to do this.”
Read about autopilot and how your mind takes over even during extreme anxiety.
Applying this belief in your ability to handle anything as it comes along will also help you with Imposter Syndrome which can affect many areas of your life: Business video meetings, presentations, sales calls and even job interviews are all forms of public speaking.
From this article: The problem with impostor syndrome is that the experience of doing well at something does nothing to change your beliefs. Even though you might sail through a performance, the thought still nags in your head, “What gives me the right to be here?”
The more you accomplish, the more you just feel like a fraud. It’s as though you can’t internalize your experiences of success. You might be delivering a presentation and feel as though you just need to get through it before anyone realizes you really don’t belong there.
Your core beliefs about yourself are so strong, that they don’t change, even when there is evidence to the contrary.
The thought process is: If you do well, it must be the result of luck because a someone who can’t overcome the fear of public speaking just doesn’t belong.
Please have a look at this article and Ted Talk about Impostor Syndrome while speaking.
This is a TED talk by Valerie Young about the Imposter Syndrome. This funny and insightful talk has some great tips for handling the Imposter Syndrome. Her tips are equally applicable to managing a fear of public speaking.
Valerie says that talking about the Imposter Syndrome can help, but it is not enough. You have to reframe your thinking.
Let’s apply this to public speaking. You could tell yourself that you have been asked to speak on the subject because you have a unique story or perspective, even if there are others with more experience.
She says that our feelings are the last thing to change. To get over Imposter Syndrome, we need to learn to act more confidently first.
Eventually, this will make you feel more confident. The process mentioned at the beginning of this blog will take some time.