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"3 Public Speaking Fears and How to Master Them "

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 true.

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 how you 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 first!

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 can get 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!

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