Photographs and blog by Sarah Agnew from Modern Bric a Brac.
Whether you have a business or a vision, Liz Peters affirmed we all need to feel confident speaking in public and Liz planned to give us the tool kit to make this possible.
From Ted talks in front of large audiences to speaking up in a meeting we all need to know how to speak in public. We need to unpack the fear so we can go out and make the positive impact we want to in the world. There’s nothing wrong with feeling fear, it’s one that is shared by three out of every four of us. Even Liz who coaches people in public speaking gets the jitters.
Far back in human history when we lived in small tribes our way of staying safe was to stay in our tribe where we could be protected. If we then chose to stand out, we at once separated ourselves from the group and if the group did not like what we had to say we risked becoming ostracised, leaving ourselves vulnerable to attack. It is this fear that we tap into when we stand up to speak.
This deep felt feeling of fear will not leave us because it is hardwired into our DNA but we can learn to work with it instead.
The feelings of fear that we experience are exactly the same as the sensations we experience when we are excited, for instance on a roller coaster. If we learn to reframe these feelings from those of fear to excitement we can begin to manage it.
Our next step is to learn how to control our breathing and we do that by understanding it better. When we are anxious our breathing becomes constricted, the opposite of what we need to create a strong confident voice. When we are stressed our breathing also becomes more shallow, we start to breathe from the chest and very fast. The body believes it needs to take in more oxygen in order to prepare us for a fight or flight situation where we would need more oxygen to counter an impending attack. The trouble is an attack is not going to happen and so we end up in a situation where we do not have enough carbon dioxide in our bodies and our bodies begin to hyper ventilate in order to rebalance.
We can stop this cycle however by changing our breathing and focussing our breath on becoming low and slow. With one hand on your chest and one on your diaphragm first become aware of which hand moves up and down when you breathe in. To lower your breathing focus on making the hand that rests on your diaphragm move out. Breathing in lower down your body enables your voice to take on a richer more resonant quality. When we breathe from our chest our voice sounds small, fast and light and when this happens people take us less seriously; when we are taken less seriously, we’re not respected and when we’re not respected people talk over us and that makes us feel less confident.
The next step is to slow your breathing right down and a simple technique for doing this is to follow a 5-2-8 rule. Even following this breathing pattern a few times will make a difference. What is important to remember is that the out-breath is longer than the in-breath in order to calm down the nervous system. Breathe in for the count of five, hold for two and breathe out for eight.
Then notice any tension you are holding in your face, begin by softening your eyebrows, your jaw, your tongue, then your neck and shoulders, just let the tension go.
Once you feel in a calmer state focus on your purpose for speaking. You have been motivated to speak because you are passionate that people hear your message. Connect with that thought and focus on your listeners and it will help you to forget about the spotlight on you.
Speaking confidently is not something we were born with, confidence is situational, you can be confident in some circumstances and not others. The only way to improve in confidence is through practice. We put pressure on ourselves to get up and be amazing but that’s not realistic. Instead, take tiny tiny moments and build up practice speaking publicly. Choose to speak up at a meeting, challenge yourself to find opportunities to speak. The more we do it, the more we push out of our comfort zone and that’s how you build confidence with public speaking.
Finally, in the same way that the mind can trick us into a state of anxiety, we can trick the body into feeling more confident. Take up more space and by doing so you can increase your testosterone levels. Testosterone is the confidence hormone. Even though your instinct may be to make yourself small and hide away, resist that urge, because it is making you feel less confident.
Stand confidently, control your breath and focus on your authentic message and people will want to hear what you have to say.
Liz Peters finished with her key take away messages that she wanted us to remember:
- Take control of your breathing, make it low and slow
- Soften out your muscles
- Take up space and trick your body into confidence
- Accept that your feelings of fear are real and re-frame them
- It’s not about you, it’s about the message you want your listener to hear
Liz Peters offers private 1-1 coaching and workshops on public speaking, embodied confidence and improvisation. She’s offering a special discount to Healthy Business Hubbers, so get in touch for a free, no obligation, phone consultation.
Liz’s links: www.lizpeters.com |Tel: 07899 804869 | firstname.lastname@example.org | YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxBVjdcQH-4MmOJHHnKueXA
The December Hub also had two pop-up promotions (PUP’s) from local healthy business owners offering a selection of discounts and free samples to Hub attendees.
Stephieann Design – Stephie brought along a selection of her beautiful floral silk lingerie and loungewear. Available at Fortnum & Mason’s in London, Stephieann is a finalist for the Sussex Women in Business awards. Inspired by British poetry, her hand drawings and photography, are digitally printed onto silk and manufactured locally in Sussex. The Hammer Through Daisies collection takes its name from the poem ‘And Death Shall Have No Dominion’ by Dylan Thomas and explores the notion of love overcoming adversity; while another of her designs was influenced by the equally fabulous poem ‘She walks in Beauty’ by Lord Byron. For more info go to www.stephieann.com
Alex Smallman, personal trainer and healthy lifestyle motivator was also there and had brought with her a plateful of delicious vegan carrot cake muffins. To further encourage us to make 2018 super healthy she had also brought with her festive winter berry plant-based smoothies and talked to us about outdoor exercise. Alex’s passion is to help people with their diet to show them how to fuel themselves into a better lifestyle, she also runs a group specifically for busy mums who want to get fit. Alex is a level 3 qualified Personal Trainer and she uses a fun, motivational and inspirational approach to exercise. Her sessions are 45 minutes long and suitable for all fitness levels with no long runs and no equipment. To find out more go to @thealexsmallman on Facebook or @thealexsmallman on Instagram.
All Hub attendees were treated to a fabulous goody bag packed with amazing, healthy products and discounts from all these wonderful businesses:
Blush Love Retreat
NHR Organic Oils
The Protein Ball Co.
Crystal Child Healing
Josephine Cobb Nutrition
Julie Brooker – Styling For The New You
Brighton Health & Beauty Hub
Blue Bird Tea Company
The Better Wellbeing System
Hummingbird Homeopathy & Therapeutic Massage
December’s event was another sold out occasion so we advise getting your tickets quick for January’s Hub event. Tickets are available at the early bird rate of £10.00 until 17th January 2018 and £12.00 after that from Eventbrite. The guest speaker on 31st January will be life coach, Thea Anderson with her talk, How to Embrace your Calling.
Grab your tickets here!