“There are two types of speakers. Those who get nervous and those who are liars.”
― Mark Twain
Well…perhaps “liar” is a strong word, but I think that many will agree frantic nerves and a racing heart are common for many when speaking in front of a crowd. Here at PlumbTalk we have dedicated a large majority of our business to training public speakers…all levels…and find the fear of public speaking to revolve around three critical factors.
When in front of an audience, many of us are acutely aware all eyes are on us. We make the mistake of thinking that every word, gesture and syllable must be perfect, or we will be scrutinized. In most cases, in our minds, the audience is not on our side; they are looking for something to criticize. NOTHING could be further from the truth. With very few exceptions the audience is silently cheering for us. They want to see that we are HUMAN and that they can relate to us directly. We must, as public speakers, let go of the concept of perfection. Go ahead, make that mistake! Own it…laugh about it…your audience will follow.
A riveting presentation flows like a good book. You open the book, tell your story, and close the book. This can not happen if a presentation is not properly planned. With few exceptions, presentations that are given “off the cuff” with little thought to the content come across as ineffective and unorganized. How do you feel when you are sitting in your office and you feel like you are not organized? Yes! Me too…I lack focus, am nervous and cannot help but to focus on the disorganization. Proper preparation is vital for the success of a speaker.
Have you ever woken in the morning with an overwhelming sense of PURPOSE? A powerful feeling that what you are about to do will positively impact lives of those around you? Wow…how does that feel? AWESOME! When a speaker steps on stage and truly believes in their mission and the positive impact that it will have, their passion often can not be contained. Purpose leads to passion. Where passion exists, fear takes a back seat. It is as simple as that. When you believe in your message, your purpose, nothing, not even chains of fear can hold you back.
Speakers that go through the PlumbTalk training program realize that fear when on stage is NORMAL. The first step in managing stage jitters is to acknowledge what is at the root of stage anxiety. By re-defining the concept of perfection, preparing a presentation properly and by approaching each engagement with a well-defined purpose we can, as speakers, step on stage with confidence and light up the world.
Dr. Shelley Plumb