"Fear is laughable in the embrace of a great hug"
I had to chuckle when I read a study that showed that fear disapates when we are hugged. I mean really, didn't we already know that. Every parent learns instintively that a scared child can be calmed down with a good loving hug. And yet I do keep learning more about the power of a hug all the time. Let me tell you a little story....
I was the MC at a friends wedding. During the wedding ceremony I could not help but notice that the Maid of Honor looked distressed. After the ceremony was over I took her aside and asked if everything was ok? She told me she was freaked out about giving the toast to the bride. She really surprised me since she isn't the bashful type. But she told me that just thinking about standing up and having all eyes on her was making her sick.
She showed me pages and pages of notes. I think I'd be nervous if I had to read from all of those papers? Then I got an idea! I told her to put away the papers and just speak from the heart about her best friend. I also assurred her that I make her so relaxed she would enjoy her moment.
It was time to introduce the head table. When I got to her, here is how I introduced her....'and this is my friend Marilyn who is also the brides best friend. Marilyn is one the sweetest and kindest people I know and a world class hugger. And if any you people doubt me...just go check her out yourself!'
A handsome young man leaped to his feet and shouted out, "I'll check her out". The crowd roared as he went up and gave her a long enthusiastic hug. Marilyn was laughing along with the crowd. Then 3 more young men took up the challenge. The room was rocking with laughter and just when it started to subside the preacher stood up said he wanted to check her out as well. Not this was getting hillarious. I've never seen Marilyn laughs so hard and she is a girl who loves to laugh.
Immediately after the preacher had his hug I asked her to give her toast to the bride. She gave a beautiful loving toast and did it with good humor and grace. It was perfect!
Hugging releases the cuddle homone oxytocin into your brain. The beautiful thing about oxytocin is that it reaches the brain almost instantaniously. Oxytocin has a dampening effect on fear.
So if you are ever nervous about public speaking just get some good hugs first. It works amazingly well. Toastmaster should promote my idea and it would speed up helping people get over their fears of public speaking. And of course its fun and just plain feels good.
BONUS TIP......some people get cold clamy hands when they are about to stand up in front of crowd. Here is my solution to that, get a hot drink (coffee or tea) and cup it in your hands before you get up. The warmth will also help to calm you.