How do you have a growth mindset to public speaking when you are so nervous you can’t think about anything else except being nervous?

Much of our confidence as a public speaker happens on a very small stage.  A space that is no more than 15 cm wide.  It’s the space between our ears.  Where and what we focus our thoughts on will dictate the outcome of the success of our presentation, the energy we bring to the presentation, the connection with the audience and what we call our “confidence” .

With a growth mind set we choose not to identify our lack of speaking confidence as  “speaking nerves” rather, identify this lack of speaking confidence as a choice to change our  “speaking focus”.

When you feel nervous where does your focus lie?  It is on you, worrying about, “will they like you?”, “what will they think of you?”, “will you forget what you need to say?”. This kind of thinking is most definitely a closed mindset. We become obsessed about the negative what ifs.  And our negative mind like a heavy drawbridge closing, crushes our self esteem and shuts out any light and warmth from others.  We become sucked down the negative vortex of our self doubt.

Changing focus, changes everything

Try these focus changing exercises that will flip your mindset toward a positive one.  A positive way to improve your public speaking confidence and negate a growth mindset in other areas in your life where negative closed mindset thinking creeps in.

1.Choose to focus on the positive what ifs – what if they smile and clap, what if they come up to congratulate me and tell me how much they enjoyed my speech, what if I hear from them in 6 months time telling me how my speech changed their life.

2. Choose to focus on the audience rather than yourself.  You are there for the audience, not you.  Analyse what matters to them and prepare your speech with content based on this.

3. Focus on the preparation of your speech, not as a speech but rather a gift to the audience.  The audience may have attended for information or insights.  You might be telling them about something they don’t know about yet, that would benefit them. Your speech preparation time is when you prepare these verbal gifts.  Add the trimmings and surprises of an engaging delivery.  Your well thought out speech will be well received as would a well thought out gift.

4. Consider your speech delivery as the time to give the gift, delivering the speech with the same level of enthusiasm, sincerity and joy.  After all, if you did the preparation, analysing this audience, you know what matters to them, you know it will be well received.  Usually we have only a few minutes to give a speech, make the most of this time and enjoy passing on this information, insights or stories.

5. Evaluate your progress in speech writing and delivery.  Celebrate your existing skills and challenge yourself to go outside your comfort zone to improve on the areas that could be developed.  To fast track this development, team up with a mentor or “speaking buddy” or work with a communications coach.

There is no finishing point, our self development is a continual journey.  Developing our communication skills not only improves our confidence and self esteem but we are elevated to share amazing information, insights and stories with others, inspiring them.  It has a continual growth flow on effect for you and those you touch with your sincere communication.