We back up a little in this podcast to explain exactly where public speaking fear comes from and how to eliminate that stage fright in just three simple steps. Doug Staneart, CEO of Fearless Presentations ® gives away a few public speaking secrets that have helped the 2-day Fearless Presentations ® classes have such a success helping people over the last two decades.
The Three Easy Steps Explained
- Identify Where the Public Speaking Fear is Coming From. Fear or nervousness, most often, comes from situations where there is risk of loss or danger. The more dramatic the risk, the more nervousness you will experience. This nervousness is normal, though. In fact, we experience it just about every time that we try something new. For instance, the first time you ever drove a car, you were most likely nervous. You may have started learning in a parking lot with cones, and as you had a few successes, your nervousness decreased somewhat. Next, you likely started driving in a somewhat deserted neighborhood. Then a busier street. Finally, you likely moved to a highway. At each new stage, you likely felt the nervousness again. However, by the time that you started driving on a busy highway, driving in a parking lot was likely second nature. Doug compares public speaking fear to riding a roller coaster for the first time or going to a haunted house as a kid. Each of these situations are nerve-racking the first time, but after you experience them a few times, you realize the fear — although very real the first time — is often highly exaggerated.
- Minimize the Risk of Failure.. Once you know where the fear comes from, look for ways to minimize the risk when those situations occur. Doug suggests that you start small. Run for office in a social club, speak up in meetings, ask questions when other speakers present, or volunteer in church. Each of these situations will allow you to speak in front of groups more, and each of these have a relatively low risk of failure. As you have a series of successes, your confidence will grow. In addition, as you speak more and more, look for speaking opportunities that are more challenging than the last. Just as we started in the parking lot driving, if we stay in that parking lot for the rest of our lives, we won’t really accomplish a lot. One of the reasons that the Fearless Presentations ® class works so well is that the instructors will assign very simple presentations at the beginning of class, coach participants so that they have a series of successes, and increase the difficulty a little at a time in an easy to follow, step-by-step manner. This allows each student to grow in confidence with each new presentation.
- Stack Up a Series of Successes. The most important thing to remember about developing confidence in a skill set is that when you practice the skill and have a success, your confidence will grow. When you have what you perceive to be a failure, your nervousness will grow. So it is important to stack up a series of successes so that if something negative happens, it doesn’t destroy our confidence. The best way to do this is to look for opportunities to speak that we might have passed up in the past. If those opportunities don’t present themselves, then make opportunities for yourself. Doug gives an analogy for this comparing this behavior with practicing baseball. If a kid only does batting practice once a week in the weekly little league practice, it is had to build momentum. However, if the kid practices at home just a couple of extra times per week, the kid’s batting average will increase dramatically. The point is that you can’t gain confidence if you never come up to bat.
If you are looking for a way to eliminate your public speaking fear quickly, register for a 2-day Fearless Presentations ® class in your area. You will experience the power of these three simple steps first-hand. We’ve trained over 20,000 people in the last 18 years, and we’ve never had even a single person fail to increase confidence dramatically. The process works. It will work for you as well!
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