If you google fear you will get about 1,080,000,000 results. This is a BIG google topic. And of all the studies done on fear it might suprise you that there is something we fear more than death (death ranks number 2).
The truth is we are not actual afraid of public speaking. We are afraid of public humiliation. The fear of completely embarrassing ourselves publicly is not something as easy to overcome as you think. Oh sure, there are the “just do it” mantras out there and while it is true that “just doing it” increases your confidence over time, it is also true that your worst fear can be realized too.
This happened to me just last year.
I was asked to be the closing keynote of a three day event. I was asked to take about aging wildly and choosing an alive kind of life - one of my favourite topics. I was all ready to bring a great close to the event. Because the event was local I was able to pop in earlier in the day and get a feel for the audience and the theme of the conference. It was then the first nigglings of worry crept in.
The room felt “done”. Like when you eat triple scoop ice cream cone when a single scoop would have been perfect. Virtually every single person in the audience looked either asleep or sat looking at their phones. Zero engagement, energy or interest. By the time I took the stage at 3:30pm, a third of the room had already left the conference.
But I brought my best A-game. My best stories. My best accelerated learning techniques. My best content. My best energy. And the room just flatlined anyway. No-one needed or wanted one more piece of content, activity or learning. As they say in the biz, this was a tough crowd. But I did my thing and then, like everyone else in the room, left as quickly as possible.
My worst fear happened and then I let it go.
Now, in the past I would have thrown a pity party or berated myself for being the worst speaker of all time or let a tough engagement shake my confidence completely. But it didn’t and do you know why? Because I have learned some tricks of the trade and one of the tricks is to only ask myself two questions when I get off the stage (whether it was a “bad” or “good” keynote):
what did I like best? and what would I do next time?
No room for berating. Just celebrating and learning.
So let’s get back to fear of public speaking. The best speakers out there are not good because they are naturals. They are good because they practice. They are good because they have learned the foundations of what makes a great (versus not so great) talk. They have learned how to tell great stories. They learned what to say at the beginning and the end in ways that are memorable. And they have mastered the most important thing of all: their self doubt.
So let’s say you want to be a speaker.
Or just master talking in front of people when you have something important to say.
Then I would love to invite you to join me and my colleague Linda Edgecombe in helping you learn how. With simplicity. With practicality. And laughter. Because we think laughter is essential to making learning fun.
The early bird pricing ends Friday.
This might not be for you but if you know an aspiring speaker or a someone who has a message that needs to be heard, please share this opportunity to learn how.
And kick that number #1 fear t the curb!
Because I believe everyone has a story that needs to be heard. And I would love to help you tell it.