In a 2014 survey by Chapman University, over a quarter of the US respondents listed public speaking as their greatest fear - alongside being involved in a mass shooting or walking alone at night. Our US cousins are not alone, commonly I find that senior representatives of wide ranging organisations are petrified by the prospect of standing up in front of others. Some admit that this has damaged their career ambitions and yet are resigned to this being a preferable outcome to poking their heads above the parapet.
So why do so many of us feel that irrational fear of speaking infront of others? Many of us have a fear of being judged, looking ridiculous, or even returning to a time when we had a traumatic presentation experience. Flee or fight? Most of us avoid the possibility of reliving the occasion, although the need to speak in front of others often catches up....weddings, funerals, educational projects, business conferences....why does everyone want me to speak???
However, the good news is that most of us can overcome the fear by...doing it. Understanding and rationalising why we are scared, recognising what makes a good presentation and then practising in front of one person, two people and then a roomful. Eventually my delegates throw away their presentation crutches (notes, slides and ) and venture into the world of slowing their breathing, giving eye contact, reducing their speed and starting to smile. Smile and the whole world smiles with you....
The feeling of removing the public speaking hoodoo is incredibly empowering and a joyful one to observe.
So are you ready to take the plunge? Don't let your fear of public speaking hold you back but let the excitement of telling people your story be the lever to engage with a wider and inspired audience. We hold regular presentation skills courses as well as one to one support - to find out more email [email protected]