Let’s say you have to give a public talk or stand up and present in a meeting, and you’re afraid of public speaking. Your natural tendency will be to stay frozen in one place. Well, not entirely frozen. Worse than frozen.
Actually, when you stand behind a podium or at the front of a room for your entire talk, a few things generally happen, none of them good: you become stiff and uncomfortable; you rock back and forth in place; and your audience gets uncomfortable, frustrated and fidgety.
That’s because you’re physically confining yourself to a single space and posture – not at all natural for a lively conversation. When you’re talking with friends at a party, you tend to move around. When you move around, you’re more comfortable. And when you’re more comfortable, you’re more eloquent, animated, articulate – more interesting. In other words, you can (sort of) trick yourself into feeling less terrified while you’re speaking in public if you mimic the physical behaviors you exhibit when you’re actually feeling comfortable.
So unless for some reason you’re physically confined to a small space for your presentation, move around the room, even just a couple of steps in any direction. Let your natural body language and gestures take over. You’ll feel less afraid, and that will come across in the form of a more relaxed, engaging talk.