Public speaking. Two words that send chills down our spines and fill our stomachs with butterflies.
Public speaking has become an expected ability for many individuals today, though the mere thought of it leaves us breathless and paralyzed.
Today I will be presenting 5 simple tips on how to overcome fear of public speaking, and I know they will help you like they have helped me!
When I think of public speaking, I think of addressing a business meeting, or being the host of an event, or leading a seminar, but public speaking is a part of nearly every conversation including 2 or more people if you think about it. These points are applicable everywhere!
Let’s get right into this…
1. Be Willing to Make Mistakes
This is not only true in public speaking, but it has become necessary in every area of our lives.
“A Winning strategy must include Losing” – Robert Kiyosaki
I’ve heard it said many times that we learn more from our losses or failures, than we do from success.
That’s not to say that we should intentionally fail or that we should go into something with a half-committed attitude, but that we should be kind to ourselves and correct our mistakes.
2. Fearing Doesn’t Help You
Fear really isn’t real if you think about, or at least what you are fearing isn’t.
Fear is the anticipation and materialization of something bad in one’s mind or imagination. How many times have you opened a dark closet and were suddenly afraid of some monster coming out? That’s fear! Granted this example is a bit on the young side, but you get the point.
Fearing saying something wrong, expressing something wrong, not being liked, people not liking what you say, people criticizing you, condemning you, not listening to you, throwing you off the stage and into the sub woofer… Whatever it might be, it hasn’t happened.
Sorry, not sure why I thought of a sub woofer there, maybe I need to take a break from loud music?
Anyways, fear can be good, but not if it hinders you from success. Fear is designed to keep you from danger, not from achieving your goals and dreams.
3. Don’t be a Textbook
Want to sound like a book? Then I would read a book, or in this case a very well written script.
Notes, preparation, highlights, and main points all contribute to how we present ourselves and what we are talking about. The problem arises when we are no longer thinking, and just speaking.
Yeah, I sound like a happy robot excited to engage in conversation. That conversation was programmed, and it is not going to sound original or expressed.
Expression, gestures, tone, movement, all contribute to a less robotic and more human presentation.
Does that mean you are going to have all these things mastered in a week? No. But if I were to start practicing, it would give others the sense that I was being “real” with them.
4. “Visualize Everyone Naked”
This is always a funny concept to me, because it suggests that we disrobe our audience in our minds and visualize that the entire time we are speaking. A concept I’m not very supportive of personally for obvious reasons.
However, the general idea and mindset of this saying, is that we need to stop elevating others as better than us.
Everyone you are speaking to is there to hear what you are about to say, if that is not even the case, why should you care what they think in the first place?
We can’t change people’s thoughts, but we can influence them.
Rather than having a distracting audience, might I suggest that we visualize an audience hooked on every word that we are about to say? An audience with totally engrossed focus upon our speaking?
5. You Have the Right to Speak
What happens when you combine low self-esteem with public speaking? That’s right, there is no public speaking.
If I don’t believe that I deserve to speak, or that I have the right to, how am I going to speak at all?
Value and self-worth come into play here. I need to believe that what I have to say has value, and that I am worth more than what others may think of me. Believe it or not, most people are not thinking about you, they are thinking about themselves… Just like me and you.
To present quality, we must first accept that which builds us up, and reject that which breaks us down. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that everything we say will have an immediate impact for someone’s life, but if what we talk about builds someone up, or helps someone in some way, it’s worth talking about.
“Life is like a box of chocolates.” Forest Gump
Guess what? Life is also like public speaking.
If you are like me, you like to analyze things to death, but in doing so, you usually come out with something profound, right? Well, at least in our own minds…
One thing that stands out for me about public speaking is how it is a big reflection on our lives and how we live.
- Are we confident?
- Do we view others as better than ourselves?
- Do we believe we have a right to be heard?
- Do we believe that we are valuable?
- Are we living in a box? Or are we living limitless?
- Are we so hard on ourselves when we make mistakes that we don’t enjoy life?
I can’t necessarily answer these questions for you, but I think we can all agree that our proficiency in terms of public speaking stems from several core beliefs and habits in our lives.
Does that mean you are going to go away from this a completely different person ready to conquer the world? Probably not, but maybe what I’ve been talking about will have helped you overcome some things hindering you from doing what you want to do.
There are some fantastic books out there to help with public speaking, but I would advocate that our mindset needs to be set straight before we can really start making progress.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me or comment and I will get back to you asap!