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Conquering Your Fear of Public Speaking: A Beginner's Guide

There’s really only one way to conquer one’s fears - and that is to face them… BUT! It’s easier said than done, right?

So what do you do when you know you’ll have to speak in front of people, sometime soon, and it’s going to matter?

Here’s a beginners guide that starts at the very top of what’s going on when we fear being “seen”...

When we fear standing up in public, or sitting in front of a lens, it’s usually because at some point, someone made an example of us at school and we never got over it. I want you to think back to a time when you answered a question and got it wrong, or got your times tables wrong - and everyone laughed at you…

Pretty horrible feeling for most of us isn’t it? Some people take an experience like this and become a class clown, particularly if getting bullied, kids find out quickly that if you can divert a bullies attention away from you, you can escape, at least for today.

For those of us who didn’t take the class clown route, we often hold onto that feeling of shame and it can grow and grow, after even just one experience of being publicly ridiculed. We can carry it into our adult life and even seemingly confident people can still have trouble saying what they need to say, when the stakes start to get just a little bit higher.

So, here’s 3 steps for you that you can take immediately to boost yourself and start to leave behind some of the pain of that humiliation.

1 - This part of you that doesn’t want you to “fail” in public is only trying to help you. So, thank yourself for looking out for you! Over time you can let go of these fears but for now, thank and acknowledge yourself for trying to protect you, when others didn’t.

2 - Try a breathing exercise like this one below; it will slow your heart rate, calm your nervous system and give you a little bit more time to think. You see, when we are a bit agitated, our body thinks we are under threat and it goes into fight or flight mode. You can learn to talk yourself back from the ledge, if you start to use your breath.

3 - Give yourself permission to take teeny tiny baby steps, to improve your confidence, slowly and in welcoming environments. Try leading the “hip hip hooray” at a friend's birthday. Ask a close and supportive friend / family member if you can read a poem you like (or have written) out loud to them. Something small, that you know is a bit of a challenge, but not too difficult, and most of all, like no. 1, Thank yourself afterwards for being brave and making a start!

Want more tips like this? Hop on over to Youtube where I take you through this breathing exercise in real time!

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