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Scared to Death of Public Speaking?

Updated: Oct 4, 2019

Public speaking has been said to be one of people’s greatest fears, even more than death. What is it that scares the crap out of us? 

The top 5 fears are: 1) Not looking perfect, or being considered credible 2) Not being liked; being rejected 3) Forgetting what we have to say 4) Sounding or looking stupid because of our voice or body language 5) Worrying we’re not as good because we’re comparing our self to others

For most of us, as comical as it might be, picturing the audience naked is not the answer!

Whether it’s speaking, playing an instrument, singing, creating a painting, or playing a sport, when we are nervous, it is difficult to be our best because we’re too busy being afraid of being judged. We may find ourselves lying about why we won’t perform in public or making excuses for why we aren’t as good as we think we should be. The first step is awareness of our truth - with being aware of what scares us.

The next time you are asked to speak, stalk yourself beforehand; ask yourself what is so scary. What is the worst thing that could happen? Do some deep soul searching if necessary. You can even hire a coach to help you figure it out. 

A professor I had in college took a very pragmatic approach to public speaking. One of the greatest lessons I learned was it’s really not about me. We worry too much about ourselves: how we look, how we sound, whether they like us. If we think of ourselves as simply a messenger and our goal is to help the audience, our focus changes. This allows us to connect with people and give them a gift. 

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” —William Shakespeare 

When sharing your message, keep these 5 tips in mind to combat your fears: 1) Be aware of your fears and face them. Believe in yourself.  2) Know your purpose, your intent. What do you want as a result of this message? 3) Visualize the outcome, and keep the end in mind. How do you want people to think and feel?  4) Prepare, and pour your heart into it. Consider how your audience may be yearning for your message.  5) Lighten up, enjoy it, laugh—yes, enjoy the interaction and connections you make while sharing your message.

Join us on our podcast to hear more about performing in public, and how to handle it when people don’t like it!


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