I’m afraid to be in front of people, what can I do?

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Have you ever forgotten your words as you spoke to an audience? Or trembled at how you face the audience? If so, then your anxiety is probably due to:

• Performance stress that stems from the “must”. The rigid beliefs about self, audience, or perfection tend to increase stress e.g. “I have to perform well and the audience must like me otherwise I am a failure.”

• “Musts” are usually combined with destruction, e.g. “It will be terrible if they hate me.” It may not be particularly pleasant not to be liked by the public, but that does not necessarily mean that it is catastrophic.

• Request acceptance by the public. For example, the thought that: “I should be liked by the public or I will fail” or “everyone should watch me carefully” or “even if a person leaves the audience it will mean that the speech is bad”. All these thoughts of demand are absurd.

• Perfectionism. Perfectionist beliefs cause stress and procrastination e.g. The thought that: “my presentation should be perfect or that I am not ready to present to an audience if I am not perfectly prepared”. Perfectionism is an illusion. One needs to keep in mind that perfection is a myth, and thinking properly prepared is a reality.

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• Self-assessment and self-esteem. These labels are the result of the above beliefs. It’s as if people are carrying with them an evaluation scale that they use everywhere, e.g. “I have to perform well otherwise I will not be good” or “If I do not perform well I will be nothing, incompetent, useless, unloved.” They associate their performance with these labels by forgetting other positive elements.

• Anxiety about stress. Many people think that if they have to perform, they should not be nervous or otherwise they will be disastrous. Anxiety for stress needs to be treated as an important post-emotion.

No one is perfect, we all make mistakes. So what? An error or a wrong move does not determine who we are. This is determined by our personality and that is what counts at the end of the day!

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