Oct 06, 2021

Face Your Fears with RB: Overcoming the Anxiety of Public Speaking

Pairs of eyes staring at you… ready to fire their sharp gazes at you. Your voice starts to quiver, or if not, your throat is as dry as a deserted house. As you walk along the corridors, your heart begins to beat faster, feeling each restless thump of your pulse throughout your frozen body. There is a tingling sensation burning inside your tummy, somehow like butterflies fluttering. There is a fright making you sick in the stomach — paralyzing you, blocking your mind from thinking straight.

Does that sounds scarier than a horror movie at the theaters? Public speaking can seem like a "wrong turn to a dead end" kind of plot for most students, but it’s also important to acknowledge that biologically speaking, the “chills” you experience are your body’s natural response to stress — a response known as the “fight or flight”.

It doesn’t mean, however, that you’re doomed for life by the horrors of presenting yourself confidently in front of an audience. Rentalbee is here to help you overcome your fear of public speaking.

1. Understand thyself.

What are your tendencies when you’re given the microphone at the podium? How does observing facial expressions affect you? Do these visual cues make you feel as if you're being judged, or motivate you to be your best self? If you can pinpoint the reasons why you struggle, you can combat them!

2. Develop a love for learning.

Public speaking entails expanding your knowledge and cultivating a broad and deep understanding of the topics that you will be tackling in public speaking. This can be done by consciously engaging in matters of interest through reading and initiating discussions with peers and professionals. In other words, learn how to love learning!

3. Set realistic goals.

Determine what you want to improve on, so you can focus on it. Word of caution, however, to keep your expectations realistic, but adjustable as you progress further. It should push you to improve in a healthy way, not in a guilt tripping manner that leads to disappointments and frustrations (that are counterproductive to your growth)!

4. Condition yourself.

It would be a public speaker's greatest nightmare to come unprepared beforehand. Ensure that you're wearing a comfortable outfit, you're properly conditioned physical-wise, you're on time at the venue, and you're in the appropriate mental state. Establish a routine that will turn on your "public speaking mode," which may include breathing exercises.

5. Challenge your inner voice.

Most often than not, you stutter and lose focus because of your inner voice telling you that you will fail, even without having the chance to prove yourself that you can! Instead, actively replace your irrational thoughts with visualizations of success. Savor in that glory, without forgetting to label what you’re feeling rather than pushing it under the rug. Just let these negative feelings pass by, like a storm that’s impermanent.

6. Exude confidence.

Wear your crown loud and proud. If you must, fake it ‘till you make it. “Placebo” your way to success. If you reinforce within yourself the confidence it takes to deliver your speech, you allow yourself to prophesize. Then, you can deceive your audience into believing that you know what you’re doing, even if you're unsure.

7. Round of applause to you!

You’ve taken the leap of faith. Now, pat yourself on the back. As your main cheerleader, give yourself the biggest round of applause. No matter the outcome, show some appreciation to you and your efforts!

Overcoming public speaking is important because it nurtures you, and your communication skills. Think of instances wherein you have to speak up: during class recitations, in advocating for your causes, in reaching out to fellow Roomies, negotiating with your property owner, and a whole lot more!

It’s totally normal to be afraid of something you’ve never done before; everyone has their own kilometer zeroes. But if you ask seasoned public speakers, they’ll most likely tell you that they also went through those uncomfortable, baby steps. The difference is that they constantly chose to try over and over again — to practice, and never quit despite the delayed gratification.

Maybe because there isn’t a finish line in public speaking. If you overcome that initial friction, nothing can ever stop you from reaching your goals. As with learning any other skill, there’s nothing you can’t possibly do. As the cliché reminds us, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

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