According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy. ~ Jerry Seinfeld
Since I recently gave a talk in front of more than 100 people and I managed to HEAL this FEAR of public speaking that was paralyzing me and I am sure is paralyzing so many of us, I decided to share some of the things I did to help me heal this FEAR.
There are three things to aim at in public speaking: first, to get into your subject, then to get your subject into yourself, and lastly, to get your subject into the heart of your audience. ~ Alexander Gregg
How to Heal Your Fear of Public Speaking
1. START WITH THE END IN MIND
This is a really powerful rule I apply in everything I do and it makes a huge difference. It’s very important to see yourself at the end of your speech feeling the feelings that come from being in front of a big audience. See their expressions, the joy on their faces and see yourself as being super happy, super excited and very proud of your accomplishments. See in your mind’s eye the end result and focus on that until it becomes your reality… assume the feeling of the wish fulfilled.
Make your future dream a present fact, by assuming the feeling of the wish fulfilled. ~ Neville
2. PUT YOUR EGO ON THE SIDE
If you care more about the audience and the message you want to deliver than you do about your own person chances are that you will find the strength to face your fear and to eventually heal it. Think of the VALUE you are offering and how it will impact THEIR lives. When what you say comes from the heart and it comes from a place of honesty, trust, love and passion, people will feel it and they will want to listen to what you have to say. Put your EGO on the side and focus on serving the audience in the best way possible.
You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. ~ Dale Carnegie
3. TAME YOUR MIND
When I saw the room where I was supposed to give the talk I panicked. I would imagine myself on stage looking all scared and without saying one single world I would start running away from the stage. Now I can laugh when I think of this but at that time I was really, really, really, really scared!
Worry clogs the brain and paralyzes the thought. A troubled brain can not think clearly, vigorously, locally. ~ Orison Swett Marden
You will have all kind of crazy thoughts running through your mind and it’s your responsibility to tame your mind and to make sure that is constantly focusing on the things you want to achieve and nothing else. By doing so you will go from feeling scared to feeling empowered and grateful because you are given the opportunity to share your knowledge and wisdom with the world.
We really have to remember that our senses and our thoughts LIE to us all the time. Just because you are having a thought doesn’t mean its true! ~ Wayne Dyer
4. FIND A FRIEND
If you can find a close friend, a brother, mother, sister, a person whom you trust on helping you out while you give the presentation in front of them in advance it will be really helpful. They will give you pointers and help improve your body language, your tone of voice, the quality of the content and based on that the quality of your performance will be higher.
Feedback is the breakfast of champions. ~ Kenneth Blanchard
5. DETACH FROM THE OUTCOME
It’s so important to let go of all your expectations and to let go of your need to control the outcome. I know it might seem in contradiction with the first point – start with the end in mind, but it’s not. You want to gain courage, strength, and confidence by seeing the end result in your mind’s eye since this will only help you focus and create a positive outcome, but at the same time, you want to be relaxed and detached from how events will unfold. Just relax and enjoy the ride because in the end, you will realize it was all about the journey and less about the destination.
Detach yourself from the opinions of others… from the past; from the need to be right and to win; from an obsession with material things. Follow your passion in life, but detach from the outcome and allow the universe to handle the details.~ Dr. Wayne Dyer
6. JUST DO IT, AND THEN DO IT AGAIN ~ Nike
After all the preparation, all the emotions and all the scenarios you created in your mind before the actual event, it is now time to take the stage and show the world what you are made of. It’s okay if your fear is not 100% healed. Just know that every time you get on stage to share your great skills, knowledge, and insights with the world you will heal your fear little by little. Just go out and do it over and over again and you will wake up one day and realize that what you once fear so badly is now something you have come to love deeply. The stage will become your best friend and the audience your family.
There are two basic motivating forces: FEAR and LOVE. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life. ~ John Lennon
at 7:48 pm
I really love this piece. It’s such a strong reminder of the tools we all have within us at any given moment.
I am about to start public speaking, there was a lot of nervousness. After reading this, I feel pumped to just go do it!
at 4:08 am
It is really a helpful note. Though I have been making public presentations but a little fear of outcome is always there. The 5th point of detachment is my pick from the read.
at 12:52 am
Recommend joining Toastmasters. It’s a good way to practice in a safe and supportive environment in which you get honest, helpful feedback. Most of my public speaking jitters are gone now.
at 4:09 pm
This is the most helpful article that I have seen about the fear of public speaking. I have bookmarked this for future reference. My biggest fear is that of fielding the unexpected questions – I struggle to overcome the mental picture myself stumbling over these answers and sounding like a dolt. Therefore I really relate to #3 Tame Your Mind, and the quote at the end.
Thanks you for the great advice!
at 10:37 am
I teach 40 public speaking courses a year and there seems to be a secret about public speaking that shouldn’t be a secret. It is understanding blank faces. Knowing about this should help towards point 3 “taming your mind”
As a speaker if we are not careful we carry on using normal conversational skills when we are speaking to a group.
When you have a standard conversation – you normally get nods, smiles, agreements back from the listener however when we speak to a group ALL that changes. All you see is blank faces.
So we start speaking to blank faces and they don’t usually smile (at least not very often) or nod their heads (some people will but again not a lot) so we are left struggling with critical thoughts about our performance. But blank faces are normal in audience – they are just listening faces.
So try not to read people’s faces when you speak publicly because your brain will interpret any sign as negative.
Of course there is more to getting your head around public speaking but when I teach public speaking this is the point that helps a lot of people.
David J. Singer
at 9:56 am
Congratulations on your accomplishment. Great post. Some terrific advice and unique ways of thinking about this and dealing with it.
I also strongly recommend Toastmasters, a wonderful club for learning about public speaking. It’s fun, it’s a very positive environment, and it works.
Cherie Roe Dirksen
at 8:30 pm
I just loved that opening quote from Jerry Seinfeld — what bizarre creatures we can sometimes be with our phobias!
This is definitely going to be a bookmarked article for me, it certainly makes a lot of practical sense. Especially no. 5 — detaching from the outcome. It can be hard but it is so important to surrender to the natural flow of events as opposed to how you want something to turn out.
Really great advice, thanks.