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12 Positive Mantras That Will Transform Your Speaking Confidence

12 Positive Mantras That Will Transform Your Speaking Confidence

Do you struggle with speech anxiety and stage fright? Here are twelve positive mantras that will transform your speaking confidence.

Have you heard the term "self-fulfilling prophecy"? It means to dwell on an unpleasant or unwanted outcome so much (or so frequently) that the dreaded event comes to pass. 

Public speaking anxiety can lead you down that path. If you dwell on your fears or inadequacies for long enough, they can become your mantra. And if you're actually directing your energies toward those negative outcomes, there's a good chance that at least some of them will occur.

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Here's a helpful truth: It's as easy to deal with reality, as it is to dwell on situations that aren't likely to occur. That's not one of the twelve mantras I'm advocating in this piece. But it's a good one, too. Remember: there's nothing like fear to short-circuit your rational thought process. 

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To get into a good mindset instead, some cognitive restructuring may be necessary. That's just a fancy name for turning your negative self-talk into positive coping statements. The best part is, your new statements or mantras will be individualized to your way of thinking.

Something May Be Popular But Not Good

After over twenty years of running a coaching program to help you overcome speech anxiety, I understand that creating negative self-fulfilling prophecies is a popular activity among anxious speakers. Here's what I tell my clients: If you're going to spend time and energy dwelling on an upcoming presentation, why not think positively rather than negatively? (Just think: you could use some of that time and mental effort to learn the best methods for connecting with an audience.) And anyway, which prophecy do you want to come true: a triumph or a disaster?

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The exercise below, which I call simply "Developing Positive Coping Statements," will help get you in the right mindset. In this exercise, you'll be pairing examples of YOUR negative self-talk with more constructive statements on the same issue. Yes, some of these examples may be terrible statements you're already telling yourself. If that's the case, you can immediately start using the corresponding Positive Coping Statement in the other column instead.

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By repeating your new positive coping statements (below), you'll be creating a new mantra each time one of the dark thoughts wants to get inside your head. After all, knowing how to calm your nerves before speaking is a key strategy. You'll be helping yourself prepare, not for failure, but for success. It's a simple yet powerful way to cash out your negative thinking process!

The 12 Positive Mantras for Speaking Confidence

Negative Self-Talk                                       Positive Coping Statement 

I'm just not a good public speaker.             I can learn to speak effectively. (I wasn't born doing it!)

They're going to see I'm nervous.              Most nervousness doesn't show.

I'm going to look like a fool.                        My message matters to this audience.

It's going to be a disaster.                           I'll be as professional as I can be . . . and I'll succeed!

Lots of things could go wrong.                   I'm prepared and ready.

This is a make-or-break situation.              The less I think about the situation, the better I'll be.

People will judge me.                                  They are listening for something of interest.

What have I gotten myself into?                  What an opportunity!

Everyone is going to be looking at me.      I'm counting on everyone paying attention.

I know I'm going to go blank.                      I'm knowledgeable and can handle the unexpected.

They will ask tough questions.                   If I don't know something, I'll admit it.

I have to be perfect.                                    I'm here to meet the audience's need.

Choose as many examples from the left column as seem to pertain to you. If the corresponding statement on the right isn't "quite right," feel free to tweak it. And please understand, this list is by no means exhaustive! You know the things you've been saying that undermine your own confidence. Take each one out of its hiding place, turn it around in the daylight, and come up with a positive mirror-image instead.

If you have public speaking anxiety, this simple exercise is worth the effort many times over. After all, you're turning negative behavior on your part into mantras that reinforce a healthy and positive attitude toward public speaking.

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Cropped headshot for Speak for Leadership back cover -- 8.30.21

Gary Genard is an actor, author, and expert in public speaking and overcoming speaking fear. His company, The Genard Method offers live 1:1 Zoom executive coaching  and corporate group training worldwide. He was named for nine consecutive years as One of the World’s Top 30 Communication Professionals, and also named as One of America's Top 5 Speech CoachesHe is the author of the Amazon Best-Seller How to Give a Speech. His second book, Fearless Speakingwas named in 2019 as "One of the 100 Best Confidence Books of All Time." His handbook for presenting in videoconferences, Speaking Virtually offers strategies and tools for developing virtual presence in online meetings. His latest book is Speak for Leadership: An Executive Speech Coach's Secrets for Developing Leadership PresenceContact Gary here. 

Main photo credit: 1138694 on Pixabay.


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