“Controlling Your Fear”, The Better Speaker Series – May 29, 2013

“Controlling Your Fear” from The Better Speaker Series
May 29, 2013
USDA Toastmasters Club 3924
USDA South Building
Washington, DC

The requirements of the Advanced Communicator Silver Award for Toastmasters are to complete two advanced manuals and to complete two presentations from the Better Speaker Series. Unfortunately I have not been very diligent about getting manuals completed, as I completed my Advanced Communicator Bronze manuals before I left South Dakota over three years ago. But with only four speeches to go, I have decided to refocus my efforts on my next Toastmasters Award.

The other impetus for this speech occurred when my mentee asked for advice on how to conquer nervousness in social situations like public speaking. I was able to provide her with the outline from the Better Speaker Series that has been provided by Toastmasters International and I decided to kill two birds with one stone by completing one of my Better Speaker Series requirements.

Unfortunately this is another case of a Toastmasters speech that I did not give enough preparation. I ended up starting my second point on “Anxiety Symptoms” before I talked about the actual first point on “Anxiety Triggers”. I also completely skipped an explanation that I was going to give on the Better Speaker Series and my selection of a topic in the introduction. Ironically, it was the lack of practice which contributed to these brain freezes.

My evaluator Maureen commented on the first point PowerPoint slide not matching with what I was talking about (a result of me getting the points mixed up) and adding more variety to my gestures.

It seems like contests are the places where I have had to deal with real social anxiety. In the minutes before I have to give a speech I can just feel my pulse increase and tension in my body increase. What I don’t like is that is that there is no real way to practice for this kind of pressure other than actually doing it. Practicing in front of a mirror, practicing in front of my family, practicing in front of my club doesn’t seem to produce the same type of anxiety. But that just means I have to keep competing.

This is my first speech since the International contest and it feels good to get back in it. I need to keep on writing and speaking so I don’t get dull like I have over the last couple years.

Video credit: T. Dahlman, 2013

What do you do to “control your fear” when you are giving speeches?

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Posted in speech, Toastmasters

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