“The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speck in public.” George Jessell (1898-1981).
Most inexperienced public speakers feel they must appear to be “experts” or “perfect” in their talks.
Audiences don’t come to see perfection but imperfection, the natural moments when we are most human. Speakers who are concerned more with perfection than with their topics appear stiff, read from notes, hang onto podiums, and fail to establish what is called an audience bond. Yes, know your topics and rehearse your speech, but when you get up to speak, speak from the heart as well as the mind. Speak from the you who is committed to the field and excited about the topic.
A good story has interesting content and is delivered in an entertaining way. In terms of content, the story should have a logical beginning, middle and end, and it should have “beats” that lead the listener to the next step in the story. You should know the content of your like the back of your hand. But most people concentrate only on content and do not work on delivery. They do not look at how they can let that delightfully unique side of them out.
The most natural and efficient way I know of to remove stage fright is through self hypnosis. Try this exercise:
“As you become more relaxed and less tense each,…so…you will remain more relaxed and less tense…when you are in the presence of other people,…no matter whether they be few or many,…no matter whether they be friends or strangers.
You will be able to meet them on equal terms…and you will feel much more at ease in their presence,… without the slightest feeling of inferiority…without becoming self -conscious…without becoming embarrassed or confused,…without feeling that you are making yourself conspicuous in anyway.
You will become so deeply interested,…so deeply absorbed in what you are doing and saying..that you will concentrate on this entirely, to the complete exclusion of everything else.
Because of this..you will remain perfectly relaxed,… perfectly calm and self-confident,.. and you will become much less conscious of yourself and your own feeling.
You will thus be able to act and talk quite freely and naturally without being worried in the slightest by the presence of the others.
If you should begin to think about yourself or have any negative thoughts, you will immediately shift your attention back to your conversation and you will no longer experience the slightest nervousness, discomfort, or uneasiness.
The moment you get up to speak… all your nervousness will disappear completely..and you will fell completely relaxed, completely at ease, and completely confident.
You will become so deeply interested in what you have to say..that the presence of an audience will no longer bother you in the slightest…and you will no longer feel uncertain, confused, or conspicuous in any way.
Your mind will become so fully occupied with what you have to say… that you will no longer feel nervous,…self-conscious,..or embarrassed. ..And you will remain throughout…perfectly calm, …perfectly confident, and self-assured.
Whenever you are called upon to give a speech or talk, remember you must throughout…prepare for it. You must master the topics and the delivery if you are to recite something. Rehearse thoroughly before the actual presentation.
You will anticipate the performance with pleasurable expectation. During the performance, you will remain perfectly calm, poised, and self-confident. You maximum ability and talents will surface.
Any nervousness or anxiety will be transferred to pinky finger of the left hand, which will become stiff and rigid. As the temporary nervousness disappears, the left pinky will relax and return to its normal conditions.
Now imagine yourself speaking to a group with confidence. A complete absence of stage fright (anxiety) symptoms, and being well received by you audience.”
As you develop skill with your own mind, you will be able to go into hypnosis much quicker and even surroundings that used to be too distracting for you to handle will now become tolerable for practicing self hypnosis.