As I mentioned last week in the introduction to this series, I don’t have the magic key that is going to take away your fear of speaking to people. But if applied, the following tips can certainly ease the mental, emotional, and physical stress that grips you when you have to speak in front of a group or even have a difficult one on one conversation.
1) Thoughts become our reality. Most of the time what keeps up from speaking up in any situation is our negative self talk. We say things to ourselves such as “I can’t do this”, “I’ll look stupid”, “They won’t like me”, or “I’m going to make a mistake”. These thoughts are not the truth, although we’re very good at convincing ourselves that they are the truth. This keeps us from taking action in life and creates a ton of stress for us.
Becoming aware of the negative thoughts and transforming them is the key to having a life of freedom and confidence. Consciously changing those thoughts to ones like “I know I can do this”, “It doesn’t have to be perfect, I am enough”, “I have a lot to offer”, and “I can handle this”, will help fuel you to take action. It’s really simple, but not easy. If you started to consciously think these positive thoughts instead of the negative ones, in other words begin listening more to your higher consciousness vs. the voice of the ego, you’ll find yourself taking more of the actions that you know are necessary in your life.
2) Decide that you matter. Often times we don’t feel that what we have to say matters. We discount our opinions and look up to others to take the lead. Then we feel frustrated, especially when someone else says what we wanted to say. The truth is that we all have a part to play in this life. When we hide out and just go along, we give other people permission to do the same and eventually we have many people not stepping up in life. When this happens, nothing gets created and growth is stifled. When we each decide that we matter and that what we see and feel matters, and we take action on that, we create a different life, not only for ourselves but for everyone around us. You see something that no one else can see. You have a unique perspective. It’s an important perspective. It’s not the whole picture, but it’s a vital piece. Knowing that about yourself may give you the confidence to speak up more often.
3) Remember to breath. Deep breathing can actually lessen the stress you may be feeling both mentally and physically. Right before you have to speak, focusing on your breath transfers your attention to something other than what you are nervous about.
4) Have a personal motivational statement. Develop a short, easy to remember statement that you can say to yourself when you are nervous about something you have to say. Mine is “I am a magnetic, expressive, decisive and real woman”. This statement is something you can rely on to get you through a tough situation. And just like breathing, it gives you something to focus on other than your nervousness and negative self talk.
Stay tuned for the next 6 tips.