Public speaking is an essential skill for people looking to advance in their professional careers, but public speaking also ranks among the top fears of most Americans. For many people, however, the issue they have with public speaking starts with the thoughts they have directly before or during a presentation. In most cases, the most detrimental thing people face when speaking to a group is the stress and anxiety they cause themselves. While constant practice is the best way to improve oratory skills, an individual also needs to be able to reduce his or her stress and anxiety levels in order to deliver effective, engaging, and informative speeches.
Directly before and during a presentation, it is easy to get lost in a negative stream of consciousness. Speaking in front of a group can be intimidating and will often cause people to question every move they make or word they say instead of just enjoying the fact that they have been invited to share their ideas. In order to be a better, more relaxed public speaker, presenters must focus on getting away from the constant stream of negative thoughts that tend to arise just in time for an important presentation.
One way to relieve stress and anxiety is to try meditating for five minutes a day. While it won’t solve a negative stream of consciousness alone, meditation will help relax and strengthen your mind, giving it the power to work to dispel or ignore those negative thoughts and replace them with encouraging words and phrases. One type of meditation that is especially helpful in working to dispel negative thoughts is called “Mindfulness.”
To engage in “Mindfulness” meditation, sit with your spine straight and supported. Close your eyes and focus on your breath as you breathe in and out. If your mind wanders, make a conscious effort to continue to focus on your breathing. Controlling your mind is the first step to reducing stress and anxiety levels and will help you become a better, more confident, and calmer orator.
For more information on meditation and public speaking, please visit http://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2014/03/21/five-minutes-a-day-to-conquer-the-fear-of-public-speaking/.