I just finished a fantastic presentation skills class in Baden Baden, Germany, and I made a very interesting observation. I’ve been teaching public speaking classes and presentation skills for years, and I realized a long time ago that fear comes from uncertainty about an outcome. So, for instance, when people feel nervous about speaking in front of a group, they are nervous because they are uncertain about whether they will do well or do poorly.
In this particular class, though, just about every single person was a non-native English speaking person. Studies show that 95% of the American population is nervous about public speaking — uncertain about the outcome. Just think how much more nervous you would be if you were asked to give you speech in Spanish, or French? That’s exactly what this group was asked to do. And yet, within a couple of days, these participants were delivering Fearless Presentations!
The group was made up of participants from the US and UK (the only native English speakers) as well as participants from France, Germany, Russia, and China. When diverse groups like this get together, more often than not, they speak English as a common language. And that is what this group was doing.
What I noticed was that this group acted very much the same as participants in our normal US and UK classes. Sure, they were nervous, but as we progressed through the class, and each speaker had a new success in speaking, their self-confidence grew dramatically.
The key to eliminating public speaking fear is to have a series of fantastic successes, and the best way to do that is to get a good coach. Failure causes uncertainty in future presentations, but success causes certainty that you will speak confidently and with poise.
Success to you!
Doug Staneart is the CEO of The Leader’s Institute®. If you are in Europe, and you’d like information about how to eliminate your public speaking fear, visit our public speaking class website in Europe.