Public Speaking and Mindset

“I’m scared of audiences. I get shitty scared. One show in Amsterdam, I was so nervous I escaped out the fire exit. I’ve thrown up a couple of times. Once in Brussels, I projectile-vomited on someone.”

– Adele

For many of us, even exceptionally talented performers like Adele, just the thought of speaking in front of an audience leaves us in a state of gut-wrenching panic, filling us with nerves and a fear of failure. But, we are in control of our thoughts and our minds, and through harnessing our emotions and adjusting our mindsets, we can overcome these feelings of dread.

I speak from experience. I once suffered from those same feelings and thoughts, and still do at every speaking event I participate in, but by applying this concept of adjusting your mindset, over time I have become more comfortable with stepping on to a stage in front of an audience. Once you learn to frame your reasoning, the prospect of public speaking feels less terrifying.

Here are four simple things that I have learnt.

Accept that you are your worst enemy

People are more critical of themselves than anyone else. We are our own worst enemy because we are conscious about performing well and delivering to the best of our abilities.

I recently wrote about ‘Mind Games’ and the adverse effect the mind can have on our confidence, causing us to fear failure. I’ve presented many times and left feeling that I wasn’t up to scratch, but the feedback given was excellent.  Once you learn to accept that you do possess the capabilities to meet the mark, you will perform your best and deliver well.

Picture success

I recently met with the Wallaroos Head Coach Dwayne Nestor. He spoke with me about the mindset of high-performance athletes and how he often reminds his team to picture success before they head out on to the field –  this is consistent with the well-known universal notion that:

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve” – Napolean Hill

I never believed in this concept and have been quick to dismiss it until recently. When I quit my job, I pictured my business being a success and wrote about what that success looked like and meant. Similarly, when I started Public Speaking, I had always pictured myself speaking on a TEDx stage, and that’s exactly what materialised recently.  So, the next time you feel nervous then try to imagine and picture being in front of an audience, delivering your speech and receiving a triumphant applause.


One thing I have been determined to develop in 2019 is how to relax my mind, and so every morning I meditate for 15 minutes – I wish I’d started sooner! Ever since starting this daily routine last week I can already feel the difference. Meditation has eased my concerns and improved my awareness and senses.  Learning to relax and control your mind gives you the power to control your mindset positively.

If you have an upcoming speaking engagement and you feel nervous, try relaxing your mind through meditation – Headspace and Primed Minds are two fantastic apps to help you do this.

Build your confidence vault

We encounter public speaking situations daily. You might have contributed to a team meeting, simply asked or answered a question, or made a toast for a friend’s birthday; be attentive to these moments and take note of those instances you felt you spoke well in; harness that positivity and store it into a “confidence vault” which you can then tap into whenever you need to strengthen your mindset.

Learning to adjust your mindset is one of the most effective ways to develop yourself, and a strong mentality can contribute significantly to your overall personal and professional development.

If you ever feel nervous about your ability to speak in public, make a conscious decision to master your mindset by making small changes every day and you will notice your confidence transform.

Shil Shanghavi
Public Speaking and Presentation Specialist

If you are interested in learning more about Shil and his workshops on Essemy, please visit this link.