If you’re still terrified of public speaking, and it’s holding you back in business or your own life achievements, here’s my advice for getting over it. It’s proven to work!
Well I’ll start with this: When I first started my career in advertising in 1996, the Media Director of the ad agency where I was working told me she hated presenting at new business pitches and public speaking at industry events – there was no getting away from the duty of pitching but she would avoid speaking on stage at events like it was the plague. She said she would get so nervous about presenting in front of strangers that she would vomit.
I didn’t have too much of a hard time with speaking my mind, but I had almost no experience with high-pressure, competitive new business pitches and had no experience at all with public speaking other than some acting auditions when I was 15 and had aspirations of being a movie actress. While I could weasel my way into almost any audition, I wasn’t a strong actress (not on screen at least), and I always had nerves at the audition so it never really went beyond non-speaking extra roles.
I’ve written before about my shyness, and how I suffered with stage-fright and managed it with Toastmasters in my 20’s and a decade later in my career with hypnotherapy, but last year when I had the chance to return to a Toastmasters meeting with my friend Roger Pierce, I started to really recognize a whole other side to stage fright and why fear of public speaking is such a problem for so many people.
What we know is that for many people, this fear holds us back from speaking about our passions and expertise and often from participating in the activities that can help make our businesses stronger and lives so much richer.
I believe that for many of us this fear comes from being told as kids to be quiet, that our voice and opinion doesn’t matter, that we will embarrass our parents and likely humiliate ourselves. It creates a physiological reaction to the prospect of public speaking that acts like a trigger for pain and illness to literally stop us from embarrassing ourselves.
Now that I frequently am hired by organizations to be a keynote conference speaker or to lead the organization through a customized workshop on using social media, I have worked through the practice and know what to do with the physical feelings I still experience: butterflies in my stomach, excitement coursing through my body, nervousness, sweating, shaking voice, hands and more…
- When practicing for my presentation at home, out loud & forcefully, I say “My name is Debbie Horovitch and I’m fucking awesome!” (I’m sure my neighbours think I’m crazy, but it does work to retrain the ongoing mental dialogue picked up as a kid.)
- I recognize the “symptoms” of nervousness are not fear at all, but physical excitement that people are about to tell me how awesome I am (which happens after every single speaking engagement).
Now I take any opportunity to get up on stage and retrain my mind and my heart to just recognize the physical symptoms as an indicator that I’m excited because some really amazing things are about to happen for me.
And it doesn’t only work for me, it can work for you too! When I was in Los Angeles last month at Lindsay Wilson’s Sales Mastermind weekend, I finally met for the first time in real life my social media friend Rodney Washington. Having seen him on Facebook for more than a year, I had no idea he was nervous about his presentation on the last day, until we met the first morning and he shared it with me.
Here is some of what I’ve previously written about my journey into professional public speaking:
- Professional Social Media Speakers Bureau & Representation
- How To Create An Effective Speaking Page (For Your Website)
- And my own Speaking page on my website, to help get more professional speaking engagements for myself and the other professional speakers who I am representing (not exclusively!)
What would it mean to your confidence, life and business if we could eliminate all feelings of fear of public speaking from your life? Reach out to me today if you’d like to chat about how we can do that! #Sparkle
Want access to my FREE public resource library of social media whitepapers, ebooks and courses from experts around the world? Want Social Sparkle & Shine to review your business, media channel, launch event or promotion? Send an email invitation to debbie@theSparkleAgency.com for immediate access
❤ By: Debbie Horovitch