You are at the top of your game and you have to present a proposal to group of decision-makers. Or you have to speak to the media about a crisis in your organisation. Or you have to deliver your company’s Annual Report to the shareholders.
At the very thought, your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, your vocal chords start tightening and your thoughts are all over the place - and you haven’t even started to prepare your speech! You want to run and hide.
You are suffering from glossophobia – the fear of public speaking. In the worse way.
This used to happen to me years ago and even now as a trained, professional and experienced Public Speaker who have help hundreds overcome their fear of public speaking, I am still embarrassed when I remember those times!
Perhaps you’re wondering…
if I’m an Executive, if I own a business, why can’t I just pay somebody to do this for me…you know, outsource this duty...along with the fear...
Of course you can...that is the delivery of your speech...but not your fear of public speaking. You don't want to and here’s why:
When you have great communication skills, because you have mastered your fear of public speaking, you control the discussions and the debate surrounding you and your business. When you control these, in the eyes of you employees, customers, stakeholders and the public, you are a winner. And this shows up on your bottom line!
Now you’re wondering…(I’m good at reading your mind) how do I overcome my fear of public speaking?
Well guess what, this is where the good news steps in. I know, and now my clients and students know, there really is no such thing as fear of public speaking.
I know what you're thinking but please stay with me. Look, here is my definition of public speaking:
It is the skill of sharing your thoughts, ideas and convictions, in an orderly manner on a particular topic, to an audience, so as to convince them about or educate them on that topic.
That's what you do all the time, isn't it? So what happens when you stand behind a microphone or in front of an audience that you want to blame poor old public speaking for?
Standing apart from the comfort and the safety of a group to speak either with or without a microphone, is the one activity that has tremendous potential for an instant dive in self-confidence and a meteoric rise in insecurities.
Yep…and this is what you label “fear of public speaking.”
When I get my clients to understand it is NOT fear of public speaking that's the problem but standing up to speak exposes their real fears and challenges their confidence, I am more than half-way to helping them.
Here is the 3-Step process that I guide them through. It helps them to kick their "fear of public speaking" and comfortably become ready and raring to begin speaking, even before we get to the nuts and bolts of public speaking.
Step # 1 – Expose and understand your REAL fears
As human beings, we walk around with many fears which we don’t have to think about, because we have developed ways to cope with them which hide them from the public.
But delivering a speech or presentation makes us feel naked and alone and these fears rush to the surface. This is what we label "fear of public speaking".
Here is a partial list of your personal fears that my public speaking coaching has exposed:
- Fear of succeeding
- Fear of failure
- Fear of being judged
- Fear of rejection
- Fear of embarrassment
- Fear of expressing one’s true feelings
- Fear of people
- Fear of criticism
- And the list goes on
As part of this step I help clients to identify their own fears and understand the extent to which these fears are impacting the desire or requirement to speak in public.
So stop right now...stop reading and go deep inside and write a list of your personal fears. Be as honest as you can because you don' have to share them with anybody.
Step # 2 –Identify and eliminate any limiting beliefs
Limiting beliefs are those “yes buts” which lead to fears and compete with the positive beliefs that you would like to have. For example, you hear a really great speech and you say to yourself: Hey, I bet I could be just as good as that!
Immediately a small voice inside says, “yes but... do you know how long she’s been doing that?’ “yes but...do you really thing you could earn a living by speaking? Don’t make me laugh!”
So what can you do?
Get a blank sheet of paper and draw a line down the centre. On the left-hand side, list the positive feelings you'd like to have, or do have, of yourself as a public speaker. E. g: “I have a great voice!” or “I can make a presentation that can win the contract for the company!”
On the right-hand side, list all the limiting beliefs that you now hold which prevent you from making those statements come true. Then try to understand the connection between your fears, your positive statements and your limiting beliefs.
Now try to remove the limiting beliefs.
Find a process that works for you. It might be meditation or affirmation or good old-fashioned Prayer. If you find that you need professional help, don’t be afraid to seek it. When you remove limiting beliefs from your thoughts, you will soar to new heights in every area of your life!
Step # 3 - Replace the limiting beliefs with positive beliefs
In this step, you are turning your limiting beliefs on their head. You may try affirmations for example: Audiences appreciate me because I care about them. Or, I am a trained public speaker and people want to hear me. This replaces your negative self-talk with powerful empowering beliefs that eventually sink into your subconscious mind.
As part of this process, challenge yourself by giving short talks on subjects you know well to “safe” audiences. This will help you to gauge how your confidence is growing and reduce any thoughts of fear of public speaking.
Practice these three steps over and over, until you have mastered them and you will soon have people paying big bucks to hear you speak.
Your next step...
Now, the public speaking tips in this post might be enough for you to work on your public speaking fears on your own – and that’s great!
But if you want further help, go on…contact me, I’m waiting on the other side with my sleeves rolled up.
To your public speaking success...