THIS BOOK ON public speaking and presentations by Judy Apps reminded me of lyrics in The Sound of Music:
"I simply remember my favorite things. And then I don't feel so bad." Apps advocates this mind-over-matter approach as an antidote to a fear that can reduce a speaker to a mass of quivering jelly or to robotically "controlling" their fear by talking with as much charisma as the speaking clock. She goes further by advising that the speaker converts fear into positive energy by remembering an acronym, Feel Energetic And Real.
There are good, sound, practical solutions to overcoming the fear of speaking here. One is a set of exercises designed to rid the speaker of adrenaline. When someone is nervous this hormone "poisons" the system and affects clear thinking, Apps says. To clear it, the speaker should undertake "physical energy preparation" such as going for an energetic walk or run, jogging on the spot or jumping up and down, shaking their shoulders, and stretching in all directions.
When discussing the psychological element of fear, Apps reminds us that "energy flows where attention goes." This can work for good or ill and she quotes from a research paper in the British Medical Journal (Delbaere K et al. 2010; 34Lc4165) which found that old people who are anxious about falling and think about falling are statistically more likely to fall.
To emphasise this, Apps gives the example of a consultant who was nervous about giving presentations and who was asked, at short notice, to facilitate a discussion on improving communication. She briefly thought about the issues, spoke to them for around 45 minutes and was very well received. Later, Apps congratulated her saying that what she had done was indeed presenting, to which she replied: "What do you mean that was presenting? I don't do presenting. I was just talking to the group about their issue." Apps responded: "Exactly; it's called presenting