Are You Afraid of Public Speaking?

George McFly 1

“I never let anybody read my stories. What if they didn’t like them? What if they told me I was not good?” ~ George McFly

Are you afraid of writing? Are you afraid to talk to strangers? Are you afraid of dancing and/or singing in public? I suffered from these fears for years. Why? Because I used to care too much about how I was being perceived by others. This led to a number of imaginary fears such as fear of public speaking, fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, fear of rejection, etc.

I managed to cope and then I came across an article in Parade magazine that made it easier to get over these imaginary fears.

The name of the article is “Public Speaking Tips: How to Not Be Nervous helpful resources.”  It’s basically a chapter excerpted from a book titled “Your Perfect Presentation” by public-speaking coach Bill Hoogterp.

Bill explains that nervousness is just a form of trapped energy. When you are in an uncomfortable situation you tend to worry too much about how you will be perceived. In other words you begin to focus on yourself.  When you focus on yourself you put up a filter between you and your audience. Your audience picks up on this and they put up their own filter. At this point you’ve lost your audience and you’ve lost your chance to deliver your content–your message–to your audience.

Bill also explains that overcoming this is simple and it only takes three words;

get over yourself

Once you get over yourself, once you stop focusing on yourself, your filter is lowered and your audience lowers theirs and your energy can reach your audience and you can recieve theirs.  A good example of this is what happens at a good stand up comedy show; the comic gives the audience what they want (funny stories) and the audience gives the comic what he wants (laughter).

Here’s an excerpt from the article;

“How does it feel to breathe with a plastic bubble around your head? Shortness of breath? (Yes.) Feel a little foggy? (Yeah.) And when you talk, how does it sound? (A little tinny, like it’s not quite my voice.)

However, when you get going and get comfortable, or when you’re speaking to a group you know well, you take the bubble off, and you feel fine. (Nodding yeah.)

So, what you used to think of as nervousness—a form of fear—you now understand is just trapped energy. It’s your filter and shield wrapped entirely around yourself, to protect you. The solution to being trapped in your own energy is to lower your guard (your filter), take off the spaceman’s bubble, and focus on the audience. You don’t matter when you are the speaker.

Like a lot of people, you know your stuff well, but you stay in your own head. Instead, focus on how to get the content from your head into their heads. Trying new ideas and mastering techniques that work for you will give you confidence, both consciously and subconsciously, so that you never need to put the bubble on again.”

I copied the following info from the book and I read it everytime I’m about to share content with my audience either on my website, in a meeting, when giving a presentation, or through any other means of communication;

perfect presentation

So, the key to stop being nervous is to;

  1. Remember That You Don’t Matter
  2. Remember to Focus On Your Audience

Bill goes on to explain that there will still be times when you will experience “creative tension” but don’t confuse that energy with fear. Use that energy to connect with your audience and have fun!

What are you afraid of? Do you have a trick or tip that gets you past fear?

Leave your response in the comment section below.

And thanks for stopping by!

RC Bonay

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