This is part 2 of a three part blog series on the fear of public speaking.
- Part 1 – Top 10 Fears of Public Speaking
- Part 2 – [You Are Here]Face Your Fear of Public Speaking
- Part 3 – Make Public Speaking as Easy as Brushing Your Teeth
This picture is me (on the right) facing my fear of heights.
It was a transformation for me.
The way you face your fear of public speaking is also a transformation for YOU. Wow! Think about that for a moment. In our first blog, we discussed the top 10 fears of public speaking – the underlying fears. The REAL reasons you might have this fear of public speaking. Knowing and understanding which one is the culprit for you is your first step.
Top 10 Fears of Public Speaking
1. Fear of failure…
2. Fear of inadequacy…
3. Fear of leadership…
4. Fear of competition…
5. Fear of embarrassment…
6. Fear of selling…
7. Fear of people…
8. Fear of futility…
9. Fear of self…
10. Fear of success…
The good news is that regardless of what the reason is for why you have a fear of public speaking, the way to FIX it is the same.
Before we talk about the fixes, let’s first see what all these fears look like in the public speaking domain. Now, let’s apply all of these to public speaking. What do these fears look and sound like up there on stage when you’re giving a presentation, a speech, or a talk? Let’s look at what 10 other speakers have to say about how they feel when they do public speaking…
Thinking these things can affect performance.
- “I don’t feel confident speaking in front of people.”
- “Speaking takes too much effort.”
- “I don’t know the right words to say when I speak to people.”
- “I upset people when I’m speaking.”
- “When I speak in front of people, I’m using them.”
- “The people I’m speaking to don’t want to hear from me.”
- “The people I’m speaking to aren’t the right people.”
- “It takes so much time for me to prepare and I don’t have the time.”
- “I get rejected on stage.”
- “I’m just not a good speaker.”
- “Speaking just isn’t for me and my personality.”
- “I’m awkward in front of people.”
- “People don’t like listening to me.”
- “When I speak in front of people, I’m wasting their time.”
Eventually, those same speakers give up or don’t even try. That’s because very few of them have a process around speaking that they actually stick to. Even fewer have a process that actually feels good to them and happens naturally for them.
Instead, they have negative beliefs about speaking. A negative speaking belief is a negative statement you make about yourself and your speaking based on negative experiences you’ve had in your life with speaking.
Million-dollar speakers, on the other hand, spend little if any time worrying about speaking. Highly successful speakers just do it for an hour and are done. What are they thinking about during that hour?
They are thinking highly profitable thoughts such as…
- “I feel confident speaking in front of people.”
- “Speaking is easy.”
- “I know the right words to say when I speak to people.”
- “I make people happy when I’m speaking.”
- “When I speak in front of people, I’m helping them.”
- “The people I’m speaking to want to hear from me.”
- “The people I’m speaking to are awesome.”
- “I don’t have time NOT to prepare for my presentations.”
- “People accept me when I speak.”
- “I’m a good speaker.”
- “Speaking is for me and my personality.”
- “I’m comfortable in front of people.”
- “People want to listen to me.”
- “When I speak in front of people, I’m enhancing their time.”
Successful speakers have profitable speaking beliefs. This can keep them in a highly profitable speaking practice for years and years to come. Eventually, those same speakers go on to million-dollar careers. That’s because they have a process around speaking that they actually stick to. They have a process that actually feels good to them and happens naturally for them. They have profitable beliefs about public speaking.
What is a profitable speaking belief?
It’s a positive statement you make about your speaking based on the experiences you’ve had in public speaking that actually helps you gain success. Once you understand this, there are three steps to face your fear of public speaking…
How Do You Face Your Fear Of Public Speaking?
Step 1: Ground Yourself
Step 2: Identify Your Negative Beliefs
Step 3: Turn Your Fear Into Confident Speaking Beliefs
We talk about each of these in much more depth in my Calm program: How to Conquer Your Fear of Public Speaking. I don’t have time to get into all of that right now, but let me say a few things about each one.
Let’s start with grounding yourself.
Step 1: Ground Yourself
Too often, people attend a presentation with a speaker who is not grounded. Imagine if physically, emotionally and mentally, you are sharp; you are alert and grounded with your audience, with little to no conative stress.
If you’re not grounded when an audience comes to see you, then where does that presentation go? It usually ends up with you and the audience on two different planets. Most people aren’t genuine and grounded throughout the day.
How do you get to the point where you are at your best for each and every one of your presentations?
As speakers, we want to be on a planet that is very attractive and very grounded. This includes each and every time we’re getting ready to give another presentation. Imaging ranking every speaker you meet on how grounded and attractive he or she is with other people. Imagine further doing this with speakers. Most speakers that really struggle have a “grounded coefficient” of about 5%.
That means they are grounded (and attractive), with very little conative stress, about 5% of the time during their presentations. After working with a coach and really working on myself and my thoughts, I now have a 90% grounded coefficient on stage. Most speakers can probably get to 50% or 60%—if they do the work that’s in the Calm program once every week or every other week. Most speakers could get to 90% if they worked on this every day.
Let’s take a look at step 2 to face your fear of public speaking.
Step 2: Identify Your Negative Speaking Beliefs
When you look at all of the daily tasks of speaking, the ups and downs, preparation, stages, and audience members, it can be emotionally taxing. Because of this, speakers will often abandon their values.
For example, some speakers love the performance. For other speakers, the performance may not feel genuine.
What if somebody’s value is, “I don’t want to perform in front of people?”
Well, great, we’re going to show you how not to do that. And, what that can do is align with your values. That’s precisely what is so unique about Rule the Room. We’re helping speakers from a values standpoint.
We don’t say, “What is it going to take to get you on this stage today?” Instead, we’re teaching you how to communicate with people effectively so that you sell yourself.
The number one need of your audience (and any human being) is to feel safe. Being genuine makes them feel safe. Being genuine isn’t just being your natural personality. It’s also being true to your values and beliefs. What are values and beliefs?
You can’t be grounded and be fake. If you don’t genuinely want to have a connection with an audience, don’t give that presentation. If you want to give a presentation, then give the presentation, but don’t do it because you think it’s a recipe for success.
A speaker friend of mine came over to my house to help me with some snow shoveling. When he got there, I asked him, “How’s your day going?” “Good,” he said, “but I really don’t want to have to go back to work today.” “Why not?” I replied.
“Because it’s Friday and I’ve got to give a presentation today. I’m dreading it. I’ve got to get up there and I’ve got to talk to a bunch of people and I don’t want to do it.”
How about you? Do you enjoy public speaking?
There are many people out there that are not even open to public speaking. Many speak because they are forced to, but it’s like they are drinking just enough water to stay alive. They are speaking just enough to survive—no more. One of the biggest reasons for non-profitable speaking is negative speaking beliefs.
Here’s the problem…
Most Speakers Don’t Even Realize They Have Negative Speaking Beliefs
We’ll talk more about negative beliefs in our Calm program…but for now, you should know that most speakers with negative speaking beliefs also don’t realize that the insides of their minds look very different than the inside of a million-dollar speaker with profitable beliefs.
Here’s the number 3 way to face your fear of public speaking…
Step 3: Turn Your Fear Into Confident Speaking Beliefs
How do you create a confident set of speaking beliefs? The answer is to detangle your fears and your negative thoughts about public speaking. It’s the opposite of fight or flight.
What’s fight or flight?
It’s treating everything in your life like a bear is chasing you, like your life is in danger. Most speakers with a fear of public speaking are in a state of fight or flight. They are treating each of their presentations like a bear is chasing them.
For example, if someone says to you, “I need you to do a presentation next week on a brand new topic,” most speakers treat that news as if a lion is chasing them.
That’s called fight-or-flight response, and it’s not being grounded. Most speakers who have a fear of public speaking are in fight-or-flight mode most of the time they speak. (Unless they learn how to fix it, which is what we talk about in our Calm program.)
It all starts with grounding yourself meaning slowing down and getting out of fight-or-flight mode. If you show up to a presentation and you’re in fight-or-flight mode, you’re not thinking rationally. It also means detangling your negative beliefs into positive, confident ones.
Detangling your thoughts means you are addressing those fears and problems and replacing your negative chip sets with positive chip sets. Only then will you be able to replace the negative thoughts and fears with positive thoughts and confidence.
Once you have faced your fear of public speaking, you can start to make it easy (and routine). And that is what we are going to talk about in blog #3 of this series…how to make public speaking as easy as brushing your teeth.