Public Speaking and Overcoming Your Fears

Public speaking and presenting at workshops and conferences is one of the best and most effective ways to get your message across and your business/services noticed, BUT did you know that the biggest number one fear for people is public speaking?

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that seem right? That means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”- Jerry Seinfeld

There are some, that would rather run naked, painted in pink flowers into the middle of a crowd than speak to a room full of people. I was one of those people until one day I realised that my fear was simply a state of mind, a mindset, an imprint, an unconscious state of mind. Looking back I have no idea why I thought this way, there was no specific defining moment that caused me to have such negative thoughts/energy around public speaking. All I can think of is that at some stage I’ve read that statement above and thought ‘s**t if people would rather face death than public speaking then it must be absolutely terrifying! I’m never doing THAT!’

My first speaking presentation was a few years ago talking to a room full of veterinarians (approx 40) on social media. I was so nervous!  I was literally shaking, sweating and standing in the one place almost trying to hide in the corner of the stage so nobody could see me – seriously!. The presentation lasted about 60mins and I have to admit by half way through I was starting to relax a little.

Why? Because I realised that my audience was actually engaged! They were listening to me and learning from my teachings, they were asking questions and I was enjoying the ‘conversation’ and interaction with the room.

I was actually helping them solve a problem. Many voiced their frustration on how confusing social media was to them, and I was providing them with a little clarity. People are grateful when you offer them a solution to their problem.

As soon as I was done and sat down I felt a massive sense of relief, and surprisingly…. energy! I was so pumped that I had just faced one of my biggest fears…. AND, I nailed it! No, it wasn’t a perfect presentation, in fact far from it but the more I present the better I get. Just like everything else in life

What are some of the fears you might be feeling?

I want to share my own personal fears because here because these are real fears, real thoughts and real emotions.

I’m not alone in thinking along these lines. In fact when I found out that other women were feeling the same way I had an odd sense of relief  – It was normal and I was not alone.

  • I’m a fraud – who the hell do I think I am? How dare I think that I’m an expert on this topic.
  • What if I’m asked a question that I don’t know the answer too, will they think I’m an idiot?!
  • I’m not skinny enough or pretty enough to get on stage (seriously I know I’m not alone with this one!) and present.
  • I’m just a nobody with nothing exciting to say, nobody wants to learn from me or listen to me.

Two years later and I’ve come full circle…

I still get very nervous before a presentation, but I also realise that it’s a mindset that I have to continue working on.

public speaking fearsLast week I realised I had come full circle. I was asked back to speak at a workshop of… you guessed it, veterinarians, about…. you guessed it, social media. Strangely it initially conjured up those old emotions, perhaps it reminded me of how terrified I was the last time I spoke to this group.

I had to stop myself and say… you know what… Been there, done that, I’VE GOT THIS!

Was I nervous YES! It doesn’t matter how many times I speak to a room full of people I still (and probably always will) get butterflies but I don’t allow it to affect my self-confidence. I don’t allow it to stop me speaking at events.

The more you do the easier it becomes, this I promise you.

Tips to overcome your fear.

  • Start off speaking to smaller groups until you get comfortable enough to speak in front of a larger audience.
  • Speak for free and pick topics you’re comfortable with, now is not a time to try to talk about something new just because it is the new hot topic or trend.
  • Reach out and contact/connect with people – Chamber of Commerce, connections etc and pitch your topics
  • Create your own event and invite/surround yourself with people you are comfortable with.
  • Be prepared. Make sure you know your presentation and PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!
  • Relax, BREATHE and remind yourself that YOU CAN DO THIS
  • Smile and recognise that people can’t see your nervousness, and if they do who cares – you’re only human!
  • Put yourself out there, what’s the worst that can happen? Place a link in your Bio or website letting people know your available to speak and list a few suggested topics like I’ve done here 

You WILL get results –

People may not be ready to buy from you straight away but they will become fans. Make sure they know where they can find you online, and on social media, and make them an offer that they can sign up too to get them on your list.

As a result of last week’s presentation I picked up three new clients, all for only one hour of my time.

I want to hear from you!

Comment below and share with me what is your greatest fear that is stopping you from public speaking?