Declare Your Freedom From Fear of Speaking!
I have always wanted to be a public speaker. People who hold workshops, seminars, keynotes, etc. on a regular basis make it look so easy when they stand up in front of hundreds of people (or even 20) and talk so eloquently about their topic. When searching for my theme for today’s blog, I came across a the fear of speaking. Oh my gosh. That’s what I need to write about.
My first terror (yes, terror) regarding public speaking occurred when I was a junior or senior in high school, and we were required to talk in front of the class for 3-5 minutes in English class. I decided I was going to recite Mark Antony’s dialogue from the play Julius Caesar, written by William Shakespeare. His famous soliloquy began, “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears…” I memorized that speech forward and backward. I practiced and practiced in our living room, in front of the mirror, and wherever I could so I would not make any mistakes during my oration. Fast forward to my turn in front of the class; my name was called, and out of nowhere my knees turned to jelly, my stomach clenched into a knot, and my mind went blank. Did I say blank? As I stood in front of my classmates, I delivered the first few lines and then nothing. Where did the words go? How could I have forgotten them? I practiced for weeks. Tears welled up in my eyes, and I silently stomped my foot and actually said $hit (this was 35 years ago in an all-girls Catholic high school). My teacher gracefully told me to sit down and smiled. Needless to say, that was my first, but not last, confrontation with public speaking. I had to take communication classes in college (which I proceeded to drop twice), I’ve tried Toastmaster groups numerous times, and I am still not completely confident speaking in public, which is actually hilarious because I love talking to people and can talk to anyone I meet on the street.
If you have a fear of speaking, I want you to join me today and declare your freedom from fear of speaking by concentrating on these simple tools:
- Recognize the source of your fear. Your fear comes from not knowing how you will be perceived or what will happen when you start your presentation or step to the microphone and begin to talk.
- Face your fears. When you feel your knees turning to jelly, remind yourself that whatever you are afraid of probably will not happen. If you prepare, you are ready, and if you forget to say something, chances are most people will not even notice.
- Breathe deeply and relax. Find breathing exercises that help calm you. Here are two suggestions: a) close your eyes and imagine yourself in a place where you are completely at ease. Breathe in and hold your breath for 10 seconds and then let your breath out for 10 seconds; or b) listen to yourself breathe and breathe slowly telling yourself there is no rush. These types of exercises will help you feel confident and completely relaxed before your speech.
- Take a workshop or public speaking course, etc. Learning the art of speaking publicly can boost your skills as a speaker and will help you land speaking engagements so you can share your knowledge with others in specific areas/subjects you are an expert. This will only further your career as a business owner or employee in the corporate world.
I’d love to hear the challenges and successes you have had with public speaking. Comment below; we’d love to hear from you!
Until next time,