How do you overcome the fear of public speaking?
Public speaking fear is just like any other anxiety in that the more that is unknown or the bigger the threat, the greater the nervousness that we experience from it
. So if we lower that risk, lower the unknown factors, and lower the threat, the fear diminishes
and sometimes even goes away entirely. Anytime we do something somewhat dangerous, we feel the heart pounding and queasy stomach. Things like riding a bike, driving a car, flying in an airplane, or firing a handgun are all somewhat dangerous for people without any experience doing these things. If you’ve ever seen a four or five year old kid riding a bike, you can typically see the tension in the kid’s face. It’s the same with a teenager with a driver’s permit. That very first time that your plane took off and you felt that tickle in your stomach, you likely grabbed the arm rests a little tighter. And police officers practice day after day to get proficient at firing their handguns because they want to be extremely confident.
Step-By-Step Process to Reduce Fear
In each of the examples above, people who experience anxiety typically follow a simple step-by-step process to reduce the tension. Sometimes, this process is pretty passive such as flying in an airplane, but most often this process is very active (like learning to fly a plane). The simple four-step process is as follows:
- First, Start with an Attitude of Want: You have to want the skill that is being developed. You don’t have to have a lot of confidence in the beginning, but you often do have to have a bit of courage. Courage with success leads to confidence.
- Second, Break the Activity into Component Parts: Most people try to complete an entire activity flawlessly all at once, but if a mistake is made in the process, fear develops. It’s easier to grow in a step-by-step manner.
- Third, Master the Component Part: Practice each component until confidence in that specific part grows. String a series of these successes together, and the self-confidence in that overall skill grows as well.
- Repeat the Process: As a person masters a component part of a process, confidence grows. It becomes much easier to practice the next part… and the next. The speed at which we pick up new skill in the area increases as well. It’s like a snowball in that it’s a little challenging to get started, but as you roll it over and over, it gets bigger more quickly.
One of the interesting things that happens is that once we go through this cycle once, the first phase, The Attitude of Want, is much easier to move through because we’ve already had a success. As we complete the process over and over having a success each time, the fear that originally kept us from moving through the first phase decreases dramatically.
The Alternative: Practice the Full Skill All at Once
Most people fail to break the skill into component parts, so they try to master the entire skill all at once. That would be like taking a four-year-old to the BMX dirt bike track and pushing him down the steepest hill. Or like taking the 15 year-old driver to downtown New York City her first day behind the wheel. Or like sending a rookie police cadet into the middle of a big drug deal. But that’s what we do with public speaking. We jump in front of our peers, or the board, or a big client and we wing it. I’d like to suggest a better way…
The Fearless Presentations® Public Speaking Class Eliminates Public Speaking Fear
To overcome public speaking fear, break the skill into component parts and master each part. Fearless Presentations® helps each presenter have a series of public speaking successes by changing the way that we PREPARE for a presentation. Our step-by-step process makes writing and delivering presentations much easier. Once you have a series of success after success after success with zero failures in between, the stage fright fades away…
What is Public Speaking Fear? | Overcome Public Speaking Fear | The Importance of Self-Confidence