5 Reasons and How to Overcome Them
As I discussed in my last blog, it is no secret and it has often been said that some people list ‘death’ as their #1 fear, and the #2 fear is public speaking. Through Toastmasters, many learnable moments, 8 years of practicing public speaking, in sales and training, I finally conquered my personal fear of public speaking. I became curious as to why this is such a fear for many-including me in my past.
The reasons I came up with, based on my research and learnable moments are the following.
- We are more focused on ourselves vs. the audience. Yes, it may sound ‘selfish’ but when we focus on ourselves, our fear can become too much to bear. Take a few deep breaths and visualize yourself succeeding and capturing the audience’s attention (I still do this today!).
- We are not prepared. From my experience and research, there is no such thing as being ‘too prepared’ to speak. The more rehearsed and prepared you are, the less likely it is that you will be overtaken by the jitters in front of your audience.
- We are afraid the audience will not like us and will reject our ideas. In reality, most audiences out there want to see you succeed NOT fail! Controversial topics may bring opposition, so be prepared for objections.
- We feel awkward and vulnerable. Yes, we are ‘putting ourselves out there’ and we fear the worst. I often open my talks with a question, introductions or any way to get the audience involved in the first 5 minutes of my talk. I always remind myself (in my mind) that I am an expert on the subject and the audience wants to learn from me. Positive self-talk can do wonders!
- We are late. When it comes to giving a presentation, nothing can take us off our game more than being late. It causes stress, distraction, and you may upset the meeting presenter. You lose the opportunity to meet and mingle with the audience. When I speak, I check out the room hours or the night before in advance. I check and double check with the venue that the rooms is set up right and the AV contact (if applicable) will be onsite for me before, during and after my presentation (in case there is a disaster).
When it comes to presenting, expect the unexpected. Expect the best and prepare for the worst. Be flexible. Most importantly, don’t take yourself too seriously and have fun. Laugh, and your audience will laugh with you! As they say, if it is not fun, it is not worth doing.
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AIM Training and Consulting, Inc.