We all had that moment where we have to face an audience, and we have their full attention. Whether it’s a school or a college or an office presentation, they stare you; their soul expects something chaotic from your soul. Some of them laugh at your opinion, some of them would be getting annoyed just by your voice. But people who are just listening for getting inspired, they are your audience.
I have experienced significant anxiety when I go in front of an audience and try to speak something or anything. Even when I have it prepared, I mess it up. And it is not just me, and they're a lot of people who face the same. When I meet several audiences, my mind initiates the phase of confusion, all of the things that I have learned in a sequence begins to rumble. My well thoughtful thoughts become useless when I speak with my shaky voice. It especially hurts when you had something great to tell, and nobody values it, nobody smiles with it or take it seriously.
You might be wondering that, is saying something in front of a significant number of people is that convoluted?
Yes, it is, for some of us. Stripping our minded thoughts through our mouth in front of a broad audience is like a dream for us. While we speak publically, we hesitate to open up. It looks idiotic and unintelligent, not to speak, what you had in your brain, and even when you had the very will to say it.
Just imagine what kind of mental pressure we go through. I think that the people who have the most active will & execution, they are the best humans from our species, & that is what precisely what some of us lack, right?
I still remember my presentation in the office, where I had to pick up a billionaire and present it to my bosses. And guess which guy I picked up? Mark Cuban. I knew him from the shark tank, and I blew it up. I had this crazy idea to present this guy as a motivational role model for my bosses, but I made it wholly awkward as I was talking nothing less than shit. During the time of my speech, I was uneasy, underconfident, nervous, jittery, and especially shaky. I could feel my legs shaking, my hands being unsynchronous, and my eyes being unfocused. It was a traumatic experience for a lifetime and sent me into a state of despair. My optimistic approach got flanked by the whole waves of misery.
The major problem started after that traumatic day. After that, whenever I even thought about giving a speech or a presentation, my thoughts automatically flashes me my failed articulation, and after that, it was like a slippery slope. You cease to confront a majority or even a group of people; your head starts giving heartache while even you think about it.
How did I come out of it?
I soon realized that it was all in my mind. I feel bad about it because I couldn’t move on for the time being, and I didn’t take any steps to get out of that miserable trauma. And I soon realized what I was really going through- it was a social anxiety disorder. In case who don’t know what social anxiety is, it is the also known as social phobia; it is intense anxiety or fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected in a social or any performative situation.
So every time I go out there to present my thoughts in front of more than two people, I get anxious about them, and it was difficult to just present anything for the time being, but I discovered that it is not going to work like this forever, I have to change, I had to change. I couldn’t do or achieve anything being with a problem like this. So, I start finding a solution to my problem. I questioned myself why it is happening to me, why my brain automatically starts dwelling in the fear of others? The answer was simple, I didn’t have enough courage or confidence to speak up, and there I had the root cause of the problem.
So here are some tips about how you can solve social anxiety:
- Go out
By going out, I mean to go anywhere you want to. And yes, sometimes we feel lazy about doing anything, but we should challenge ourselves to do the same. My personal advice would be to just go somewhere in a subway or a train as they are filled with people. As soon as you arrive on the subway, you will find a lot of people looking at you. What should you do in that case? Look them back, one by one. It will help you in practicing and maintaining eye contact in real life. And next time whenever you will meet a stranger being, you will not be anxious about he or she is thinking about you, you will be just willing to say “Hi!”. It will boost up your confidence and that is where all of the magic will happen.
2. Share your experiences
Most of the time, we vessel our thoughts in one place. We keep doing that whenever somebody hurt our feeling or whenever we have any kind of disturbing experiences and it naturally starts to become an awful collection of memories. And whenever we try to open up or talk to somebody whether it’s a small group of people or a big audience, your brain instinctively starts recalling those awful experiences, all at once which somehow stops you to speak up. So my advice is to stop capturing and start sharing with someone who you trust and look up to. In case if you find nobody faithful worth sharing your personal problems or thoughts, start recording them like a podcast. It will help you to get the bad things out of your brain.
Meditation is historically one of the oldest ways to increase your focus but the problem is that it is too damn boring. Being in a state where you don’t have to do anything, nothing, not even think. Just sit as an empty bottle feels like death. I had the same perspective until I personally tried it. And the results were astonishingly amazing. I was able to think and recall anything I have experienced earlier in my life. So clearly, that it feels like you are looking and recalling your thoughts from a box of glass, and the glass is transparent and clean that it doesn’t feel like glass. And it really helps in speaking out. So, meditating really helps you in speaking in front of a group of people, you will feel more active and focused, whenever you will feel like telling a story or explain someone something.
4. Challenge your negativity
It is very important to challenge our negativity. It becomes worst when a part of our brain becomes more negated about anything we do. And it majorly acts as a constraint when we have an audience in front of us. But believe me, it is all virtual. Yes, it is a situation where our own thoughts that are eating away our potential. Bashing with negative thoughts is natural, what you have to do is question it every time, that, why does this particular negative thought cross our mind? Questioning makes it more accountable and constructive. So, never get demoralized by your negative thoughts, question them first. In case if you cannot think, just take a pen and paper, and start jotting down your problems.
5. Believe in yourself
Most of the times we don’t believe ourselves, we just believe what majority of the people said. Believing in others will lead you somewhere where people want to reach, not you. And that is what happens with words, they are made from other’s hypothesis, and surely they can be wrong. So believe, don’t doubt, and stay true to yourself. It is an important part while giving out our speech because we need to understand the fact, that speaking is an exchanging process, where we speak a sentence, and then get feedback in the form of wows or boring etc, so you need to be saying things from your heart, rather than just gulping the written words on a paper.
I hope my collection of advice helps you in delivering a better speech out there and stay more confident with your words.