How much anxiety is good for public speaking?
When presenting we need a little anxiety as this will improve recall,
raise energy levels and make for a more focused, dynamic speech.
An overly laid-back speaker can easily bore!
So we donít want too much anxiety and we donít want too much relaxation. We need enough tension to give us energy, and enough calmness for clear thinking and recall. We need the right balance.
Most of the petrified presenters that we train are doing the same thing!
Here's the usual 'pattern of fear'.
1) You have a presentation coming up.
2) You think about it, imagining things going wrong and so feel anxious.
3) Unknowingly, you build up an association between the thought of the speech and the feeling of fear.
4) You go into the actual situation and get a fear response!
Repeated often enough, this will cause the two to become very closely associated. This is Ďnegative mental rehearsal' for the event. Not surprisingly, when you go into the actual situation you feel terrified!
Dogged by an Ancient Brain
As Ivan Pavlov showed, dogs who are repeatedly fed whilst hearing a bell can eventually salivate when just hearing the bell without food.
People who repeatedly feel fear coupled with imagining something find they feel fear when the situation arrives.
However, people can learn to associate tightrope walking, fighting in battles or defusing a bomb with a state of psychological calm.
You can learn to change an association.
Next, Public Speaking Exercise