Public Speaking Fears?
When did you first realize you have a fear of public speaking?
For most of us somewhere between grade and high school we were introduced to the idea that we should all be afraid to talk to an audience.
Did you know according to most studies about fear- people rate fear of death as the number 2 most frightful prospect. Number one? Public speaking.
As Jerry Seinfeld would say in his stand up act- “Most people would rather be the guy in the casket than the guy giving the eulogy.”
Public Speaking is a universal Fear.
In every culture across the world people seem to have some level of fear and anxiet about taking center stage.
Taking your thoughts and forming them into some cohesive image to share is a challenge! Especially knowing that your presentation (and YOU) are going to be judged on some level.
People will do anything to avoid being judged.
So how do we change this negative mindset?
Speaking is a skill
Like any skill, YOU CAN IMPROVE! Once you can recognize the main reason you don’t want to get up in front of a crowd are nothing but an attitude you have developed from the cultural attitudes and fears you’ve picked up since childhood.
Understanding that you can get better is the first step to overcoming so-called stage fright.
The second is to understand that YOU can become an AMAZING public speaker by PRACTICING!
Practice speaking like this!
You are unlikely to have a nicer audience...
You need to get used to having “EYES ON YOU!”
This is a great trick I picked up from a public speaking course I took over two decades ago.
Go get some stuffed animals from the kids’ room. Teddy Bears, transformers, Barbies, GI Joes, bunny rabbits, whatever. Get all of them together and set them up in your living room, Make it so they are a little audience spread out around the room-each of them staring at you.
Now take the stage in your living room as if it is you on stage for a REAL audience-treating your kids’ animals as if they are a real audience. Practice your presentation and make eye contact with different animals going back and forth across the room. Your brain will see these little guys as a real audience. Soon you will become comfortable with the idea of having eyes on you.
Practice your presentation focusing on the actual speaking part of the presentation, don’t worry about the eye contact. This is where you focus on finding your voice (cadence, tone, style and personality) as a speaker. Once you’ve found literally found your “voice” by practicing in front of your happy little audience of furry friends, your brain will begin to relax, having the skill of words actually coming out of your mouth with the intent to fill the room. Next you can start focusing on EYE CONTACT! That is moving your eyes from one animal to another while you speak.
Practice two or three times a day, but treat practice as sacred! Enter the sessions consciously saying-“I am focusing on presenting.”
The science here is that your brain perceives the eyes of the animals the same as the eyes of a human. In other words-as far as your brain is concerned you are speaking to an audience!
This made up practice session works, whether your audience is human or made up of giant Rastafarian bananas you won at the state fair.
Do this a few times over the span of a few weeks and you will go from fearful to excited!
You can reach Arthur at firstname.lastname@example.org