Discussion – 


Face the Fear of Public Speaking

“Courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it.” – Nelson Mandela

Even the most successful people on earth have fears. But your life isn’t defined by what you fear – it is defined by whether you learn how to overcome fear.

Richard Branson is an incredibly charismatic speaker – but it used to terrify him when he was younger.  Same goes for Warren Buffett, until he enrolled in a public speaking course.

But here is the funny thing about fear – it’s something a lot of us avoid at all costs, but it’s also something, if confronted properly, that can help us achieve our biggest dreams.

So, the important question is this: how do you respond to that fear.  Do you run away from it? Or do you use it to propel you forward? 

Why is public speaking so scary?

Fear is evolutionary – it helped our ancestors avoid danger. It is deeply rooted in biology and occurs seemingly automatically. Our hearts race and our breathing changes, preparing us for a fight or flight situation.

Now, this is super-useful when you need to run away from a bear, but not-so-useful when delivering a presentation at work.

The Key is to let Fear to Help You

Here is the great thing about fear: it gives us little insights.

It can tell us a lot about ourselves.  It shows us what we value, points out qualities we must strengthen and lets us know just how important our goals are to us.

The important difference between successful people and everyone else is that successful people learn how to use fear to their benefit.

And the uncomfortable truth is that you need to face the fear head on.

Step One: Examine Your Fears

First, you need to ask yourself, what is this fear telling me?

Is the fear telling you that you are not delivering the best version of yourself when you are on stage?

Is the fear telling you that you are unprepared?

Once you target the message your fear is sending, your next step is to lean into it — look at it, play with it, toss that fear around. Let the discomfort wash over you so you can fully realize that it’s only a feeling.

No one has conquered fear (or anything else, for that matter) by walking away from it. You cannot learn how to overcome your fears until you understand them. You cannot grow until you face your fears – and if you’re not growing, you’re dying.

How to Overcome Fear

Now that you’ve acknowledged your fears and understand where they’re coming from, you can overcome them. It won’t be easy – it will be uncomfortable and difficult.

That’s why we start with small impromptu speaking exercises in our workshops.  But you don’t need to attend a public speaking course to overcome your public speaking fears.  Take small steps when you are at work.  Put up your hand to ask a question at your next meeting – don’t blend into the wallpaper. Every little step helps.

So, the next time you experience that familiar pang of fear, your job is simple:

1 Ask yourself what the fear is telling you about your current situation and what it can teach you.

  1. Practice leaning into the discomfort you feel and absorbing the fact that it’s only that: discomfort.

Use the skills you’ve learned through your goal-setting to work through the fear – and watch your success in your career and your life skyrocket!