Back in July I told the story of my first public speaking experience. I hope that might have helped you to jump in the deep end yourself and give it a go. But if not, how else do you get over that fear?
You might think that I don’t understand just how terrified you feel about speaking in front of an audience, because I did it so long ago and have learned that the experience is not that frightening after all. And in respect of standing in front of an audience, you’d be right. But there are other things that terrify me, but I still do them. Why? Why would I put myself through something that scares me so much, why not just avoid the issue?
Well, let’s take a couple of examples. Firstly, I don’t like driving. Maybe I’m not terrified of driving, but it definitely makes me anxious. I’d rather avoid it if I can, and usually travel by public transport as much as possible. But there are times when the journey is such a pain by public transport. To my dentist surgery for example. It’s either two bus journeys and a fifteen minute walk, or one bus journey and two fifteen minute walks. And then the same back. Or it’s a ten minute drive. Obviously, in this case, the pay off for taking the car far outweighs avoiding the drive. (Plus, I’m going to the dentist! I’d sooner avoid that too, but the payoff of keeping my teeth outweighs the trauma of going to the dentist).
Or another thing, I don’t like flying. Should I give in to that fear and not go on holiday to Florida? Or do I try to relax, not think about what could go wrong, get on the plane and enjoy some Florida sunshine in January? I want the winter sun, the fun times with my family, so I get on the plane, even though I’m afraid.
So the upshot is, if the payoff is worth conquering your fear, you will do it. So ask yourself, what is the payoff for getting over your fear of speaking? It could be
And really, if I can face my fear of planes crashing, you can face your fear of standing in front of an audience. After all, public speaking won’t kill you – and it’s a myth that people are more afraid of public speaking than dying.
I’d love to hear how you’ve conquered that fear. And if you still want to work on it, drop me a line so we can talk about how I could help. Lindsay.firstname.lastname@example.org