It is well documented that public speaking is a common fear, so there’s really no need to rehash the fact that an estimated 75% of people suffer from it.
Instead, let’s try to revise our perspective of this phobia.
In a recent meeting, one of my mentors asked me a question that has completely changed the way I feel about presenting to an audience.
“Are you afraid, or just excited?”
This simple question has completely altered my approach to speaking engagements, and I hope it will help yours as well.
Let’s start by comparing the two feelings: fear and excitement. With both, I experience a rush of adrenaline, a slight clamminess to my hands, and a feeling in my abdomen that could be described as queasiness, hollowness, or butterflies.
I can combine all of these feelings into an interpretation labeled as anticipation. Whether that anticipation is positive or negative – excitement or fear – depends entirely on how I choose to think about it.
From the moment this question was first posed to me, I’ve kept it in mind whenever I was preparing for an event that required me to talk to more than three people at once. Right before I’m set to start, I’ll take a moment to myself where I really analyze what I’m feeling physically. Then, I make the mindful decision that those sensations indicate eagerness and excitement to share my message with the audience.
Ever since implementing this practice, I find it easier to step on stage, and rather than shaking with nervousness that extra energy is funnelled into extra pep for my performance.
For more help with your public speaking abilities, register for a Dale Carnegie Training Presentation Skills course!
“All things are ready if the mind be so.” – Dale Carnegie