3 WAYS TO OVERCOME THE FEAR!
I read somewhere that fear of public speaking is the most common fear–more people are afraid of public speaking than of dying! That’s sort of crazy but that’s what I read. Whether it’s true or not, I’m not sure but what is true is that lots of people hate the thought of public speaking. That certainly was true in my case.
When my first book was published I discovered that public speaking is part of being an author. YIKES! Not a good thing as far as I was concerned. After a few miserable attempts–at least miserable on my part–the audience seemed to enjoy the experience, I came to a conclusion. If I was going to be an author I had to learn to deal with public speaking in a calmer, less stressful way. Or quit writing books. And since I loved writing stories, I had to figure out a way to overcome my fear so I did. Here are 3 things I did to overcome the fear of public speaking.
- BE PREPARED. Have a plan. I developed a few different themes to talk about and then wrote out the actual speech, then I would read it and read it again–several times. Sometimes I would actually take a binder up with me and use it to keep me on track. As I became more comfortable, I moved to index cards with the main ideas.
- TRUST YOUR AUDIENCE. The audience is not your enemy! They aren’t waiting for you to make a mistake so they can attack you. They came to hear you. They’re on your side. One thing I started telling my audience is that I didn’t like public speaking so to be patient with me if I fumbled the ball a bit now and then. Then if I made a mistake, I’d remind them I’m a writer not a speaker. That usually got a few chuckles and relaxed me and the audience.
- IT’S ALL ABOUT PERSPECTIVE. Even though my day job was a speech pathologist (therapist), I also considered myself a teacher. And what does a teacher do? They talk and talk and talk. At some point when I was panicking about my next public speaking event, I asked myself, ‘What am I so worried about? I’m a teacher and talking is part of what I do every day.’ After that I started thinking about my speaking events as a teaching event and that made all the difference for me. You may not be a teacher but I’m sure there’s a different way for everyone to look at the speaking event so that you can be more comfortable having to do it.
So after reading this wonderful advice, you may have the idea that I do public speaking all the time, right? Wrong. I had become much more comfortable and was expanding my speaking engagements when I was diagnosed with my brain tumors. After having to cancel two major speaking events because of my physical health, I stopped booking speaking events but… I’m feeling so much better now, I might just give it a whirl again.
YOUR TURN: What tips can you share about public speaking?
GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!