Social anxiety and fear of public speaking is a common disorder faced by many. People suffering from it can experience anxiety, fears, embarrassment, etc. during public speaking. Most people generally try to avoid such situations instead of confronting their apprehensions and overcoming them. It can cause them lot of damage on both professional and personal fronts. Some of the salient tips for overcoming social anxiety and fear of public speaking are discussed below:
Identify and Challenge Negative Thoughts
A good beginning for overcoming social anxiety and fear of public speaking is to identify the causes triggering them. You should locate the root cause of the problem and the thought patterns which lead to social anxiety and fear of public speaking in you. Once you have identified the cause, it is time to assess them and deal with them. If you feel you will mess up an important presentation, then you should consider replacing such thoughts with more positive ones. Visualizing your presentation and audience in advance is one such step. Developing an understanding of your negative thoughts is important to prepare an effective strategy for mitigating them.
Confront Your Fears
If you want to overcome social anxiety and fear of public speaking, then you need to confront your fears instead of avoiding them. Avoidance only increases your anxiety and fears and prevents you from overcoming it. You can start by interacting more with your colleagues, friends, and family. This will help to improve your public speaking skills.
Control Your Breathing
When you are anxious and apprehensive, your breathing pattern changes which further aggravates your situation. You can over breath, which can hamper the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your body and increase the anxiety levels more. You should learn to control your breathing for getting a better grip on your social anxiety and public speaking fears. You can start by sitting comfortably and taking deep, long breaths. You should exhale the breath slowly through your mouth pushing out as much air as possible. You should continue this breathing process which will help your anxiety levels to decrease.
Do Not Ignore the Audience
Most people suffering from social anxiety, try to ignore their audience while speaking. They consider the audience to be judgmental and hostile towards them and try to avoid eye contact with them. However, this does little to nothing for relieving your anxiety and you also miss out on the audience’s reaction to your speech. One of the best ways to deal with this is to focus your attention on few known or friendly faces in the audience while you speak. Not only will this project you as more social, it will also eliminate the fear of audience in you.
Work Towards Being More Social
If you get cold feet by the idea of public speaking, then you can start to work towards being more social. You can take special training sessions to get in touch with and interact with strangers. This will also help you to improve your communication and public speaking skills. You can make new friends and overcome your shyness and inertia of public speaking.