Get excited before your next speech

For many, anxiety and public speaking go together. When I teach adults or adolescents, I’m comfortable, but when I have to deliver a speech, I’m not. I’m nervous before stepping onto a stage. I’m nervous in front of a large audience. I’m nervous when it comes to public speaking.

Many people can relate to this kind of nervousness – the fear of public speaking that causes sweaty palms, a racing heart, fast and shallow breathing, shaky hands and legs and a general feeling of malaise. The scientific term for this fear is glossophobia, which means speech anxiety.

My husband, John Zimmer, is an expert in the field of public speaking and training. He has helped thousands of people prepare for their speeches and overcome their fear. John recently published this post on an effective way to deal with public speaking anxiety. Here’s John.

Manner of Speaking

Giving a speech or presentation can be stressful. Even seasoned public speakers get butterflies in their stomachs prior to stepping on stage. Most people deal with the pressure by trying to calm down. They sit quietly, take deep breaths and tell themselves, silently or aloud, to calm down, that there is nothing to worry about, etc. But recent research suggests that this might be precisely the wrong strategy.

In a paper in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, which is published by the American Psychological Association, Professor Alison Wood Brooks of the Harvard Business School found that “[a]n overwhelming majority of people (more than 90%) believe the best way to manage pre-performance anxiety is to ‘try to calm down'”. Brooks believes that a better approach is to reframe the anxiety as excitement.

Drawing on previous research, Professor Brooks describes anxiety as “a state of distress and/or physiological arousal in reaction to stimuli including novel situations and the potential for…

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Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

5 thoughts on “Get excited before your next speech

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Julie. As I said to John, I hadn’t realised there was research to back up this technique, but it makes it sound even more compelling.

    I’m sure you’ve had other tips from John, but you might also want to try these 6:
    https://bitly.com/1KaCgjJ

    Would be delighted to hear your thoughts on those.

    (P.S. Just read your post on pomegranates, which I’ve never used at home, and am inspired to give them a go!)

    1. Hi Craig, Thanks for your thoughts on this and I will look into the site and get back to you. Do enjoy the pomegranates and the opening technique.John and I and my 2 daughters are now hooked on this wonderful fruit! Best wishes. Julie

    2. Hi Craig,
      I really liked Connie’s three tips to avoid brainfreeze when speaking in public: 1. believe in your message deeply and deliver from your heart and your head 2. beware of adding new information right before delivery and if so, write it down and 3. deliver boldly and letting go of any fear of being criticized. For me, the last point would require the most work! On a positive note, knowing which area needs to be worked on is a step in the right direction! Thanks again for this helpul post!

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