Apparently, it’s the no. 1 fear:
Making videos for your business where you share your expertise.
Standing in front of a group of strangers at a networking event and talking about yourself and your product or service.
Presenting monthly stats to your colleagues.
What if I told you that public speaking is natural and you can (re)learn it? Would you run the other way?
You might have had a negative experience in the past where you were criticised.
Or not allowed to speak up.
Or your opinion was silenced. Not valued.
You might not feel good enough.
Or you could be highly sensitive and/or introverted. This means that you could be quickly over-aroused and over-stimulated when speaking in front of others.
If you resonated with any one of the above, I have good news for you.
There are steps you can take to help you overcome this fear. (Sorry to disappoint you if you were hoping I’d say, “You’ll never have to do it again!”)
The following six ideas come from the amazing book, The Highly Sensitive Person, by Elaine Aron.
Don’t try to wing it because you want to come across as spontaneous and easy-going. That’s for other people and it’s alright to be you. Instead, prepare well and finish in advance of your deadline. And then prepare some more. Leave nothing to chance.
2. Read out loud
if necessary, explaining briefly some good, honest reasons for doing so. (I’m new to this. My mind often goes blank. I’m nervous. But stop there and don’t justify or apologise). Write what you want to say in a spoken style so that your talk doesn’t sound wooden or too formal. It’s really ok to do this, I promise.
3. Practise in front of an audience
if possible, replicating the real situation as much as you can. This avoids surprises and confusion with technology, lights, seating etc on the day.
4. Graduate to notes
later when you feel more confident.
5. Teach adults
This is a great way to introduce yourself to talking in front of small groups. The fact that you are giving makes it easier. Make sure there’s an atmosphere of politeness and gratitude in your class and you’ll become bolder with experience.
the lovable, endearing and absent-minded (insert your job title) if you feel uncomfortable when people are watching you. This way, the others can empathise with your struggle more. It might become a fun (instead of a harrowing) experience where everyone (including you) can laugh a little.
7. Join Toastmasters
Either before or after you’ve got over your fear of public speaking. Toastmasters is a very encouraging and positive place to be. You can observe from the sidelines if you wish or try one of the impromptu short speeches in a relaxed atmosphere where no one is judging you. It’s a marvellous place to rehearse your speech and feel safe. I highly recommend it.
8. Do hypnosis
to overcome the fear of public speaking. I’ve successfully helped a number of clients feel calm, confident and comfortable in their own skin when presenting in front of people or a camera.
Hypnosis can help you to clear what is holding you back – be it criticism in the past, your opinion not being valued or not being allowed to speak your mind. Or not feeling good enough for whatever reason.
Clients are sometimes surprised when they find out what was holding them back. Whatever it is, in hypnosis, they learn to clear it, find forgiveness and closure and move on. It’s so liberating and life-changing!
If you’d like me to help you get over a fear of public speaking, book a chat here and let’s talk.
Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you again soon.
All the best,