In many surveys, it turns out that people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of dying.
According to Jerry Seinfeld, this means that at a funeral, we would rather be in the coffin than giving the eulogy!
Thankfully, there are ways to overcome your fear of public speaking.
As someone who is regularly speaking to audiences of hundreds of people, I still get nervous. So I use three statements that I say to myself to help me to perform at my best.
I’ve done the work – If I can honestly say this to myself before I stand up in front of an audience, my confidence grows dramatically. When I say, “done the work,” I don’t just mean the reading and research, I mean practicing.
Prominent leadership expert and professional speaker, Michael Hyatt recommends running through every presentation on your feet and out loud (on multiple occasions whenever possible) before you ever deliver in public. It’s sound advice that will help you to overcome your fear.
Of course, if you can’t honestly say that you’ve done the work to fully prepare yourself, then you have every reason to be afraid.
I know what I’m talking about – This is another helpful statement that gives me a lot of confidence for two reasons:
- If I’ve done the work and feel well-prepared, then I’m feeling good about the content.
- If I’ve been invited to speak, it means that I’m seen as an authority on the topic that I’m discussing.
By assuring yourself that you’re an authority on the topic, you increase your confidence and are more likely to stand and deliver with boldness, clarity and purpose.
People want to hear from me – One of the reasons that we can become fearful when speaking, is that we’re worried about what people are thinking. It’s easy to speak in front of 100 people and focus mentally on the one person up the back with his arms crossed and a disinterested look.
I’ve had to learn to be less focused on the occasional person who doesn’t look engaged and spend more energy understanding that most people want to hear what I have to say and will benefit from the message. Such a positive outlook has made a significant difference in helping me to be a lot more confident with my speaking.
In the build up to every public speaking engagement, I repeat these three statements to myself, I’ve done the work, I know what I’m talking about and people want to hear from me.
They’ve made a massive difference in overcoming my fear of public speaking.
If you do any public speaking, what do you do to overcome your nerves?
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