How to Fight the Speaking Fear

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How to Fight the Speaking Fear

Have you ever been to a networking event and thought “please don’t let them say we have to stand up individually and introduce our business”?

Or tried to avoid eye contact when your boss asks for volunteers to do the next seminar, presentation or team meeting?

At some corporate training I did the other day a participant said her initial thought was “arghhhhh please don’t make me get up and speak”.

The prospect of having to actually do any speaking as part of the training was, for her, hideous.

I suspect she wasn’t the only person feeling that at the start. In her feedback later however she said she was so glad she had committed to the workshop as the nervous energy in the room had been turned into smiles and laughter. She was right – as the workshop progressed you could not only see, but really feel the growing confidence in everyone.

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I always love that moment when someone stands up to do their bit and you see their surprise and relief as they realise “I can do it… and much better than I thought”.

Sometimes the only way to confront a fear is to work through it.

To be able to say “yeah – come on then, give me the worst nausea, racing heart, sweaty palm feelings that you can, and I’ll show you what I’m really made of”.

The best part of my job is working with anyone who is willing to embrace that challenge with themselves. And the brilliant moment when they realise they not only got through their turn to do the speaking bit but, perhaps, if they really had to admit it…….. they actually enjoyed it, or at the very least didn’t hate it like they used to.

I believe anyone can feel more confident about public speaking.

Three top tips for starters:

  1. Back yourself – commit to confronting the fear by taking positive action;
  2. Do some training with others in the same boat - they know how you feel, they will have your back;
  3. Work with positive people who understand people. We are all different. A great trainer should be able to positively adapt to individuals’ needs.
  4. Check out my open courses

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