Overcoming Speaking Anxiety: What Works Best ...


28th Issue of Newsletter

Free Your Voice from Speaking Anxiety

"Go practice ... it's the only way to overcome this fear".

"Go to a mall and announce you're wearing red underwear today ... do this every week and you'll become confident".

"Pretend you are confident ... and over time you'll gain speaking confidence".

"Picture your audience in their underwear ... it'll make you become fearless".

"Take the pill and then ... just chill".

"Take a couple of shots ... and let the booze do the rest".

.

.

.

Reader, does any of this sound familiar?

This is what I got when I asked for advice to beat my fear of public speaking.

Such advice is so commonplace, I thought let's put everything into perspective so you know ...

what works,

what doesn't,

and what works best.

All advice I just mentioned falls into either one of these:

  • Practice, Practice, Practice
  • Exposure
  • Fake-It-Till-You-Make-It
  • Beta Blockers
  • Mindset and Core Limiting Beliefs

Now, let's understand each of these a little better.

1 - Practice, Practice, Practice:

I'm not gonna lie to you.

I took this approach to overcome my crippling fear of public speaking.

I joined a local toastmaster club in January 2022 and delivered 3-4 speeches every single month for almost a year.

I focused on just practicing.

I was trying to eliminate all the fillers, perfect my body language, and polish my messaging and delivery.

I believed if messaging and delivery of my speeches were perfect, I wouldn't feel speaking nerves.

I thought if I removed all the filler words, my speaking confidence would boost.

Turns out, worrying too much about delivery and fillers can backfire for beginner speakers.

That's exactly what happened to me early on ...

Whenever I mistakenly used a filler, I got more nervous.

I focused more on not using fillers and less on whether I was getting my point across.

Long story short, after a year of practice, I was finally able to deliver my first speech outside the Toastmasters Club to an audience of 40+.

First anything is always memorable, right?

The speech was great ... Although I experienced speaking nerves, I was able to trigger the fight response this time.

Without a doubt my best performance so far.

But ... but

Even though I claim I overcame my anxiety that day, the truth is I was still worried.

I still had many doubts and concerns such as ...

What if my anxiety came back?

What if I went blank on stage?

What if someone negatively judged my performance on stage?

It wasn't until I hired a speaking anxiety coach the next year who then helped me identify and eliminate the limiting beliefs causing me that intense worry and self-doubts.

One such self-limiting belief was:

I am good enough if others think well of me.

It was then that I got convinced I had finally gained the speaking confidence that no one could take away from me.

Bottom line:

Practicing does work but it's a LOOOOONG way my friend before you gain the speaking confidence you always desired.

2 - Exposure:

The philosophy behind this approach is to expose yourself to things you fear the most and, through experience, you might realize it wasn't as bad as you thought in your head.

For instance ...

If you fear heights, go to places at great heights and then maybe jump from there—of course with proper safety in place.

Following is just one piece of advice that I recently got from someone to use exposure for gaining speaking confidence.

Let's just use it as an example here.

"Go to a mall and announce you're wearing red underwear today ... do this every week and you'll become confident".

Just imagine ... how much effort it would require for someone to muster up all the courage and say something like this aloud in public.

Can you really do that, Reader?

Every day or once every week until you become a confident person and public speaker.

And what's the guarantee that you'd be able to convince yourself ...

"I am good enough to be a public speaker"

Or

"what I have to say is important".

But what if things went unexpectedly and you got some negative comments or got embarrassed in public?

Wouldn't that make you even more self-conscious?

Okay I get it ... it might work for some but it's not for everyone.

Not for me, that's for sure ;)

I wouldn't have exposed myself like this 3 years ago when I was suffering from this phobia.

But if you think it can work for you ... good for you!

3 - Fake-It-Till-You-Make-It:

The basic philosophy behind this method is flawed.

Just think about it for a sec ...

You know that you are pretending to yourself and to your audience that you have speaking confidence, yet deep down you know it's not true and you're just acting.

You know that you are trying to fool not only your audience but also yourself.

I think that might give rise to another psychological issue ... Imposter Syndrome that I'm fake, I'm a fraud, I'm a phony.

Reader,

Do you see the problem here?

How the heck are you going to convince yourself by faking it that you are good enough if your speaking anxiety stems from self-limiting beliefs?

Beliefs such as ... I'm not good enough

Or

What makes me good enough is having others think well of me.

Even if it works for someone, don't you think it might take years and years of faking it before they make it by collecting enough evidence to debunk their limiting beliefs and form a new belief that

... maybe, I'm good enough.

To tell you the truth ... I'm not a huge fan of this method when it comes to becoming a confident public speaker in a reasonable amount of time.

4 - Beta Blockers:

Personally ...

I never used them but here's what I know:

During stressful situations, two anxiety hormones (cortisol and DHEA) get released from the adrenaline glands.

More details on science behind speaking nerves can be found here.

Beta blockers block the release of these hormones and give you a temporary fix.

Beta blockers always work, but it's a band-aid solution.

You'd always be relying on a pill for speaking in front of an audience.

It doesn't help at all with getting to the root of the problem and eliminating the source that's causing you anxiety in the first place.

Plus ... excessive usage of beta blockers has long-term side effects.

So, I wouldn't recommend this to anyone for long-term usage.

5 - Mindset and Core Limiting Beliefs:

Only a handful of public speaking coaches talk about this

... yet our limiting beliefs about ourselves and public speaking contribute the most to the fear of speaking in public.

Therefore, the best way to overcome your public speaking fear is to get to the root causes and eliminate them for good

... from the source.

Reader,

My coaching philosophy to make you a confident person and public speaker is primarily based on working with your mindset and belief systems.

So, let's understand some basics here:

A belief is your interpretation of reality that you hold on to as THE TRUTH, but it may or may not be the truth

... it might just be "a truth".

Your mindset and beliefs run every aspect of your lives. For instance, beliefs make us ...

Spend extravagantly or be miser,

Frown or smile back at strangers at the grocery store,

Invest in yourself or think it's a total waste of time and money,

Feel excited or get worried sick when asked to speak in public.

This is how everything we do is tied back to our beliefs:

Beliefs make us act and react intentionally based on the emotions we feel in a particular situation

... for instance, saying no to speaking in public if it makes us feel anxious, vulnerable, and hopeless.

Habits make us do things without even thinking for once—on autopilot.

... for example, hitting the brake pedal when seeing someone running into the street.

A self-limiting belief is a perception about us that somehow restricts us.

There is nothing else that destroys human potential more than our self-limiting beliefs—and the worst part is that we never realize it.

Here's a list of common limiting beliefs behind your fear of public speaking:

  1. Public speaking is inherently scary
  2. I'm not a born natural public speaker
  3. What I have to say is unimportant
  4. Mistakes and failures are bad
  5. Appearing nervous on stage is bad
  6. Showing vulnerability is bad
  7. I'm not smart enough
  8. I'm not good enough
  9. What makes me good enough is doing things perfectly
  10. I'm going to be judged negatively
  11. What makes me good enough is having others think well of me
  12. People will judge based on my accent
  13. I'm not important

Interested in learning which one of these beliefs might be the root cause behind your speaking anxiety?

Here's a detailed guide: Getting in Touch with the Source

Just know this ... I'm an email away from you if you ever needed my help in laying out a tailor-made plan to make you a confident speaker.

Note: Access all previous newsletter issues by clicking here.


If you know someone who could benefit from this newsletter, I’d love to have them join our community of fearless public speakers. They can subscribe here.


BRINGING IT HOME

TL; DR

All methods discussed today work.

The real question is how effective and how fast.

I would reiterate that working on mindset and belief systems works not only quicker but also gets you rid of the problem permanently, right from the source.

Feel free to reply to this email if you have questions or feedback on this newsletter.


TWO MORE WAYS I CAN HELP YOU

1 - Free Discovery Call - Book your free discovery call now to uncover the root of your anxiety and fast-track your journey from nervous to confident speaker 🎤. Seize the opportunity and take that first step toward transformation!

2 - Social media - I share practical tips and insights on public speaking and communication skills. If you are active on Youtube, Instagram, or ​Threads, let's connect.

Best,

Waqas, Founder & Speaking Anxiety Coach

Did you enjoy this week's issue?

Chambers Road, Denver, Colorado 80239
Unsubscribe · Preferences

Free Your Voice from Speaking Anxiety

The only newsletter you'll ever need to overcome the crippling fear of public speaking—It's time to free your voice from speaking anxiety and gain the self-confidence you always wanted. (Published Weekly)

Read more from Free Your Voice from Speaking Anxiety

27th Issue of Newsletter Free Your Voice from Speaking Anxiety Reader, Let's find out what happens inside your body when you stress about something ... whether it's your upcoming presentation, a meeting with an important client, or any other stressful situation. I'm no medical doctor, but let's try ;) Your adrenal glands release 2 kinds of hormones, known as stress hormones: Cortisol Dehydroepiandrosterone (Don't try to pronounce it, let's call it DHEA 😉) Adrenal glands sit right on top of...

26th Issue of Newsletter Free Your Voice from Speaking Anxiety I flew to Chicago this past week and the first thing I noticed was how humid and hot it was compared to Denver. I said to myself: "God! I'm blessed to be living in Colorado, especially in the summer". The purpose of my trip was to attend a conference and deliver a 20-minute-long technical presentation to a room full of researchers and experts in the field of electric vehicles. I finalized the slides only 2 nights before the...

25th Issue of Newsletter Free Your Voice from Speaking Anxiety I spent $1600 on two day-long boot camps that focused on perfecting messaging and delivery. Meaning ... how to craft a well-organized message and then how to perfectly deliver it to your audience on stage. I believed if messaging and delivery of my speeches were perfect, I wouldn't feel speaking nerves or crippling anxiety. Guess what? It didn't work—duh! Not even a single bit. Reader, Don't get me wrong ... working on messaging...