CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – OCTOBER 13, 2021(PT.3)
Biggest Myths about Public Speaking Fear and Stage Fright
The moment arrived. I was the third of six presenters. Each of us were seated at the front table in the auditorium. The first and second presenters were people that I had never heard of, but they both got up and did excellent jobs. While the second speaker was presenting, I looked to my right to see what my other nominees thought about the first two speakers, and I was surprised because I was the only one still sitting at the table. I frantically began scanning the room, and in the dark area, way off to the right, next to the accordion wall, were the other three speakers. They were each pacing back and forth. These professional speakers were each trying to go through their presentations one last time. They were nervous, and they were looking for some way to release that pent up nervousness.
All of the sudden, a calm came over me. I though, “Well, at least I’m not doing that.” I knew that I was prepared, and that I didn’t need to rush to the side of the room for last-minute cramming, because I wasn’t really that nervous, I knew I could give the presentation in my sleep. My true confidence came back. By the way, my presentation was pretty good, and the audience loved me. I didn’t win the competition, but looking at my competition, I’m okay with that. The big thing that I learned, though, was that even professional speakers who speak for a living get nervous. And when that nervousness hits them, the just prepare more. You can too.
Myth #3: Constructive Criticism (Critiques) is the Best Way to Improve
Ever since that first oral report or book report that we each gave in high school, we’ve been told that constructive criticism or critiquing our speeches will improve the way the we speak in front of groups. It was reinforced in speech class, communications class, or whatever your High School or University called it. It was reinforced again when we went to that Toastmasters group and the grammarian and another speaker-in-training gave us constructive feedback.
However, this particular technique has never, ever worked. Here’s why. The only way to get constructive criticism is to first have a failure — and if you don’t have a failure, then the job of the critic is to find something wrong with what you did. Anytime we do something for the first time and have a failure, we get more nervous the next time that we attempt it (if we have the courage to do so). A good coach won’t use this technique much. Instead, the coach will show the person how to succeed in public speaking, and then praise the presenter as he/she moves toward that goal.