The Fear Factor Revisited

(We draw to an end this year of revisiting content from ‘Phil’s All Time Hits,Volume #1 with more very popular pieces. Consider them my holiday gift to you. We’ll start with my favorite rant about Presentation Anxiety) 

How many of you experience pain when you deliver presentations at work? How many hate speaking in public? I see a lot of hands up, so let’s briefly discuss five simple strategies for managing your fears and your Presentation Anxiety.

First, it’s a perfectly normal human feeling. Everyone has some degree of PA; It’s caused by reactions to stress and fear.

Second, PA doesn’t have a singular cause. It’s the result of a number of different and separate factors that vary by person and situation. And you can take specific actions to reduce their impact. Begin by clearly identifying each specific fear factor you think causes your level of PA, like fear of forgetting or fear of audience questions.

Third, for each of these specific causes, what simple steps can you take to reduce or minimize its impact? To minimize the fear of forgetting, practice enough to remember most of your content and create simple, easy-to-read speaker notes to remind you of the rest. Minimize the fear of audience questions by anticipating the obvious ones and creating short clear answers for them.

Fourth, no matter what you do, you’ll still have some level of PA left, so mask the symptoms that show up in your vocal and physical delivery. Pause more and longer … smile more often … sustain eye longer contact … and avoid those movements or gestures that appear nervous. Look and sound confident to your audience … and you are, because their perception is your reality.

And fifth … as hard as it sounds … look like you’re having fun up there.

So, there you have five simple strategies for facing your fears and reducing Presentation Anxiety. Best wishes for presenting with more confidence and less pain.