CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – OCTOBER 1, 2021
How to Conquer the Fear of Public Speaking (PT.2)
4. Prepare, prepare, prepare.
A public speaking appearance is only the culmination of a thorough process of preparing and rehearsing your presentation. The more prepared you are, the less worried you will be about looking nervous, forgetting your lines, or losing your train of thought. Think about the amount of work actors put into delivering entire scripts in front of audiences. Approaching public speaking the same way actors approach performing will help you shift your focus from worrying to preparing, and the more prepared you are, the more focused on your message and the less distracted by your fear you will be. In this TEDx talk, Amy and Michael Port (author of Steal the Show) encourage people to see themselves as performers and apply techniques similar to those that actors use “to create a reality of their choosing” in high-stakes situations that involve sharing ideas and information with other people. Such an approach allows you to accomplish your goal and at the same time maintain your authenticity. Remember, being underprepared is always more nerve-wracking than being overprepared.
5. Seek out more opportunities to speak.
Whether you are working on your body responses to fear, your view of yourself as a speaker, or your general approach to public speaking, the more experience you get, the more confidence you’ll gain. Finding and creating opportunities to speak gives you the chance to practice what you have learned and get better at it. In addition, it helps you learn how to use your own experiences to continue improving your presentation skills. Essentially, you learn from what didn’t work well, instead of punishing yourself for it. And the more often you speak, the more you realize that what makes a good speaker is a combination of the noble intention to inform or inspire an audience, a positive mindset, and a lot of prep work.
6. Ask for help.
While you can do a lot to overcome the fear of public speaking on your own, there are many options available for a little extra help. Getting help can, in many cases, be a more effective way of achieving results than doing it alone. There are several tested interventions available to help overcome the fear of public speaking and many specialized professionals who deliver them. In addition to asking professionals for help, there are consumer-organized groups, like Toastmasters, which also provide opportunities for building your skills in a non-threatening and non-committal environment. Many people join such groups specifically to overcome their fear of public speaking.
The bottom line is that if something scares you, you will avoid it, and if you avoid it, you will not get enough practice, and when you don’t get enough practice, you will not get better at it, and if you are not getting better at it, you will continue to be afraid of it. This cycle of fear can go on and on. But it doesn’t have to. With the number of options available, it is up to you to decide when and how to break this cycle of fear of public speaking.