What Can You Do about Your Fear of Public Speaking

How many of you are afraid of public speaking”?

You probably experienced hot flushes, sweaty palms, butterfly in the stomach or cold hands and feet every time you had to present in public, or sometimes just the thought of presenting can give you these.

Well, you are not alone, the fear of Public Speaking is real. In fact, it was rated as the number one fear in the world, even the fear of death is rated number two. Now the more important question we ask ourselves is, what are we going to do about it? Can we avoid presentation for our entire life?

[QUESTIONS] How many of you have miss an opportunity or chance because you are afraid to speak?

Your boss might decide against promoting you after sitting through a poorly delivered presentation. You might lose a valuable new contract by failing to connect with a prospect during a sales pitch. Or, you could make a poor impression with your new team members, because you trip over your words and don’t look people in the eye when you present them with your new ideas.

Importance of Public Speaking

NOW, answer to this question honestly:

Q: Is presentation skill important to me? Why?

It’s important to establish the right mindset before you want to make a change (assuming you would like to conquer the fear of public speaking). If you think it’s important because your boss or I say so, you will not be able to unveil the secret that we are going to share with you later. You need to find the inner motivation that will be able to drive you to conquer the fear.

A few tips to help you answer to this question: Ask yourself questions after questions.

  • List down all the scenarios where you will be required to speak (meeting, interview, eulogy, product demo..)
  • The scenario can be of work and personal lives (like meeting for a date)
  • Imagine how would you feel if you presented well in each of the scenario above
  • Imagine how would you feel if you DID NOT present well in each of the scenario above
  • Does it affect you? If yes, in what way?

Have you got your own answer to the question above? If yes, you are ready. Let’s move on.

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking

Step 1: Let’s find out why do you have the fear of public speaking.

Do this:

  • List down all the fear that you have on public speaking
  • Be specific, elaborate on how you feel before each presentation
  • What are the thoughts you have in your mind before/during presentation

Write down every single thoughts or visuals that you have so that we can bash them all.

Step 2: Once you are done, look through the list and categorize them into 2 column (refer to the image 1 below).

Stage Fright Reasons
Image 1: Categorize the fear of public speaking

Step 3: Look at the first column, and find one thing in common among all the fears that you have listed. What is that one common thing?

Most of the time, it is – “I”

We keep saying or thinking what if I… maybe I … Have you realized you are making all these about you? Is this presentation about you? Ask yourself this question: “What is your FOCUS? Why is this presentation being held in the first place?” Is this about me or about the audience?

It’s not about YOU. It’s not important for me to look good or polish. I focus on “what I can share with you today, what I can give the audience today, the VALUE that I’m bringing to the audience”.

See, our brain focuses on ONE thing at a time. If you focus so much on “how I will lose my words”, yes you will lose your words.

If you focus on the benefits that the audience gets from the talk, the value to the message that you want to deliver to the audience will be so great that it will overpower your fear.

Choose to only focus on one thing- the MESSAGE!

Now, what about the reasons from external like the microphone that fails?

There are times where you do not have control over external factors but there are times where you can predict and make a back-up plan for it. For examples, if the microphone fails, the organiser will usually have a back-up microphone for it. It is no need to panic about. If it’s something that you cannot control, there is no use to worry about it. For those of you who think the audience will laugh at you, seriously? If you are an audience, do you go into a presentation to laugh at people or to learn something from them?

In a nutshell, it is what you feed your brain that contributes to stage fright. When you are filled with valuable information to share with the audience, your brain will be busy processing and delivering the information.

On a flip side, we are not saying that the feelings of hot flushes, cold hands and feet, butterfly in the stomach will go away instantly. They might still be there before the presentation.

Now, ask yourself “Are those the same feelings you have when you are waiting for your examination result, or when you are about to score the highest points in your game?” Are these the feelings of excitement? Now that you focuses on the audience, be aware that those feelings are the feelings of excitement -the excitement to share the information with the audience.

Most of us waver between feeling confident and feeling afraid, as long as the confident side usually gains the upper hand, the balance will be about right

Be aware of what you are feeling and what you focus on, the choice is always yours.

Conquer the fear of public speaking and be a master of it!

In-house Public Speaking Workshop in Subang

Last week, we were honored to run an in-house Public Speaking workshop for a Post Cancer-Care organisation in Subang.  Malaysians generally has a low awareness on breast cancer and also the after cancer care. The organisation has a very good initiative which is to share their professional knowledge on post cancer care to the public. They are willing to speak for free in hospitals and also whichever organisation that invited them over.

What limits them from spreading this valuable information to more people is the employees having the fear of public speaking. Everyone raised their hand when it came to the question “How many of you are afraid of public speaking?”.  What a great loss to the society for halt is because of stage fright.

However, one thing for sure is these are the people filled with valuable and great knowledge. With that equipped, all they need is to pick up some skills and shift their focus to the right track. Ultimately everyone understand and find their own reason to be ready to shine on their presentation.

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