"3 Public Speaking Fears and How to Master
By Baeth Davis,
The Hand Analyst, Inc.
I sometimes still suffer a moment of stage
fright before public speaking. My knees shake and my throat gets a phlegm ball that no amount
of Hall's cough drops can clear. Gross, but
But an odd thing happens when I get on stage. The fear vanishes. Seeing all those
smiling, curious faces in the audience reminds
me of my real job: to deliver juicy content, to inspire,
and to connect. It is no longer about me,
but being a channel for my highest self to lift
up the crowd and create a magical world where anything can happen.
Our fears of public speaking go way back
in geologic time and are probably part of our
genetic code for survival. For about a 1,000 years during the Dark
Ages, speaking out could get you excommunicated
or worse. In some parts of the world today,
people are still imprisoned, tortured or murdered
for speaking out. It's a grim reality but important
to remember when facing our fears. Our fears
have a basis in reality. (This fear aspect of speaking
is rarely talked about but drives the engine
of our resistance to being on stage).
However, those of us in the Western world are blessed beyond measure to be able to
speak freely. The
freedom of speech is precious. It is
up to us to not squander it. As women, we
have more freedom now than we've ever had
and yet, I see so many women making excuses
and waiting for the 'perfect day' to get
their butts on the stage. (Hint: How much you weigh or the current
state of your skin has NOTHING to do with it!)
The time is NOW to express YOUR message and share
it with your audience, far and wide.
Let's take a look at the top 3 public speaking
fears I commonly see and
can master them:
Fear #1, "I'll Forget What To Say"
Sure, but so what? That's
no big deal, provided you do the following:
* Memorize your opening
and closing of your talk no less than one hundred times! I usually spend about 8 hours rehearsing a talk, running the opening,
key points and closing through my mind over
and over again until I'm dreaming about my talk
in my sleep.
* Prepare - and prepare
some more. If you're using a PowerPoint,
have you done a trial run in the speaking location
to make sure everything is working properly?
Do you have everything you need on stage: water,
erase board, clicker, pens, etc.?
* Keep your talk simple
- attempt to cover no more than 3 to 5 key points
in a two-hour talk and no more than 2 to 3 points
in talks less than an hour.
Fear #2, "If I'm THAT Visible, People
Will Want a Piece of Me"
Probably, but that just means you're popular! Here are some steps you can take to
feel safe, secure and
protected while on stage and
with the audience:
* Identify where you are entering and exiting the stage
This way, you can plan
your entrances and exits and know where
you'll be presenting from on stage.
* Determine if you want
to mingle with the audience on breaks, or not.
If you don't want to mingle, make sure your
'exit strategy' bypasses the crowd. Some high
profile speakers I know have handlers who help
them enter and exit the stage so they don't
get mobbed. Other speakers I know love mingling
with the crowd on breaks and answering questions
personally. It really depends upon how much
stamina you have and whether or not you like
crowds. Act accordingly.
* Don't go to your speaking
gigs alone. Always
bring an assistant (or a spouse, partner
or business associate) who can run errands for you, do a sound
check, and make sure you are warm/cool enough
and properly hydrated.
An assistant can also act as a handler for
you as you move from
the stage to another part of the building. If
your fans swarm you, she/he can gently say,
"Thank you so much for your support but
Ms. So and So has to get to another appointment."
It's also helpful if your handler has a headset
on that he or she can speak into it (even if
no one is on the other end!). This
establishes authority and gives you breathing
room. The only folks I know who scoff at
this are the ones who have never been in a 'mob
scene' situation. While generally harmless and
flattering, for some introverted or private
speakers, it can be uncomfortable or create
anxiety. KNOW who YOU are and take care of yourself
Fear #3, "But I SHUN The Spotlight"
Do you want the good news first? Or the bad news? Okay, bad news first. If
you shun the spotlight, it means, in nearly
99% of cases, that your LIFE PURPOSE demands you are IN
the spotlight. Good news? If you get your
butt on stage, your chances for more 1ncome, expert-status,
and ideal clients goes through the roof!
The choice, as always, is YOURS.
* Fear is not a good reason to not do something. Stop letting fear be a valid excuse
in ANY area of your life and you will surprise
yourself with how much you accomplish.
* Practice speaking
anywhere you can: free, fee, and selling from
the stage. It's so much fun, that once you
get a taste of it, it's unlikely you'll shun
the stage anymore!
* Find a speaking 'mentor'
and go to all their talks for one year.
You'll be amazed at what you learn from watching
them interact with the audience - both on and
off the stage.
Being in the spotlight will NOT inflate your ego or change
who you are, provided that you
remember that you are there to inspire, enlighten,
educate and entertain.
Your SPOTLIGHT is your SERVICE to the world.
As Zig Ziglar said, "You
everything in life you want if you will just
help enough other
people get what they want."
Baeth's Coach's Challenge: When was the last
time you were onstage? Would you be willing
to commit to being on stage (tele-class,
public speaking, Karaoke) at least twice a month for the rest
of the year? Go for it!
© 2009 The Hand Analyst, Inc.
Baeth Davis is "The Hand Analyst."
Get her FREE SPECIAL REPORT, "The 5 Massive Mistakes Spiritually-Oriented Women Make in Business (… and how to avoid them!)" and her FREE hot tips to discover your specific career niche at www.handanalyst.com. Baeth won the 2007-2008 Glazer-Kennedy Information Marketer of the Year Award. She'll show you how your HANDS reveal the best way to build a business that is both purpose-full and profitable!