It’s hard to believe ….
that I was once a painfully shy five-year-old, being dragged along by my mother on her door-to-door Avon routes.
Then, in high school, as Commissioner of Pep for the Associated Student Body, I needed to lead the Pep Rallies — in front of the entire 2,000-student body and faculty. For several days before the event, I couldn’t sleep, had a nervous stomach, couldn’t eat, would lose my voice, and tried everything I could do to get out of being on that stage! I had no idea years 20+ years ago, that I would travel the planet, as a public speaker!! What?!
Over the years, I learned how to tame my own stage fright tiger – and make it my friend. Do I still get nervous? Sure. Not as often; not as much; and I know how to use that energy to be dynamic and serve the audience.
Speaking of Fears…
According to the Book of Lists (yes, there are books), public speaking is STILL the number ONE fear of most people and both genders, around the globe, across the generations and bridging all industries.
If you search Amazon for “public speaking books” there are 42,799 results (as of June 2, 2013).
Of those, there are:
27,542 books on “fears”
5,870 books on “fear of public speaking”
2,696 books on “public speaking”
1,929 books on “humor and entertainment”
1,177 books on “communication skills”
520 books on “running meetings and presentations”
What does this mean in the workplace today?
Perhaps the overlying message here is that people not only need help in these areas, but the best solution may be to use humor in combination with communication skills, public speaking and running meetings!
How does this relate to you?
Regardless of your current level, style and experience of presenting, improvement occurs through planning, preparation and practice. The fears may never completely go away – and believe or not – a bit of that adrenaline actually supports us to have more energy and movement in our speaking.
Take one presentation at a time. Ask other people for supportive feedback from your presentations and see which points are valid, test them out — and incorporate them if they fit. Your colleagues, co-workers and audiences truly do want you to succeed. (Most of them are probably glad that they are not speaking!) Continue to step out of your comfort zone. Test new approaches. Apply new skills. Stretch your creativity.
Consider ordering a copy of my new Public Speaking Guidebook, 7 Simple Steps to Business Presentations. Just released June 7th, the 48-page easy-to-use manual provides 21 checklists, templates and worksheets to help you develop, design and deliver a professional presentation. Regular price: $59.95. On sale through September 1st for only $40!
– Sheryl Roush, Speaker and Speaker Strategies Expert