A Quick Tip to Overcome Public Speaking Anxiety

Ever heard of the books, The Inner Game of Tennis or The Inner Game of Golf? Timothy Gallwey, the author, was one of the first people to really popularize the notion that there is an inner game to any endeavor where there is performance pressure. It could be in sports, the arts, business, or in personal relationships. Think about it, sex is mostly an inner game. Some neuro scientists now believe “the inner game” of anything is responsible for 80% of your success.

As Gallwey says…In every human endeavor there are two arenas of engagement: the outer and the inner. The outer game is played on an external arena to overcome external obstacles to reach an external goal. The inner game takes place within the mind of the doer and is played against such obstacles as fear, self-doubt, lapses in focus, and limiting concepts or assumptions. The inner game is played to overcome the self-imposed obstacles that prevent an individual or team from accessing their full potential.

The field of neuroscience and mind-body connection is growing rapidly every day, and we are still learning new things all the time. But it is generally accepted now that the key to changing behavior is tracing it back to core beliefs. For example, say you have behavior such as a shaky voice or a racing heart when you do public speaking.

Where does that behavior come from? Usually some kind of emotion such as anxiety. But how does that emotion get created? Usually it’s some kind of thought such as, “What if this goes badly, very very badly?”

And where does that thought come from? And why do some people think that way and some people don’t in the exact same situation?

It’s the core beliefs.

These are like software programs in your mind that launch automatically and loop in the background. At some point in everyone’s public speaking life there are unsupportive core beliefs going on just below your awareness that can cause you to under perform.

Common ones are:

1. What if I do a bad job?
2. What if people don’t like my presentation?

If you have ever ruminated on these concerns—-welcome to the human condition. One trick to transforming them is to identify try just saying the opposite such as:

1. What if I do a great job?
2. What if people love presentation?

The worrying mind is just the creative mind going in a destructive direction. Give it something to chew on in a positive direction and then it will gladly change course. That’s just one of many ways you can stop the looping and take back control of your destiny.


If you would like to learn more tips and processes to turn self doubt and anxiety into self confidence and ease on the podium, check out Confidence Gold: The Inner Game of Speaking

Add your comments below about what helps you become a more confident speaker.