Before we begin volume 1 of the F.E.A.R. series, let me hit you with a very cool Mark Twain quote:
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear — not absence of fear. Except a creature be part coward it is not a compliment to say it is brave.” — Mark Twain”
Did you know that depending on the source in North-America alone, public speaking is ranked in the top 3 fears of the population? Yes, you read that right.
I mean, what’s the big deal? We’ve all experienced a certain degree of fear in relation to public speaking, whether it’s speaking at your best friend’s wedding or standing up during a staff meeting. Before you know it, your heart is pounding in your throat, beads of sweat trickle down your back, and you’re unable to verbalize 3 words without stuttering.
That’s why people don’t like public speaking.
Let me keep it real with you; one of the key components to being successful in life, whether as an entrepreneur or simply as a human being, is how well you can sell yourself or your ideas. If people don’t understand the message you are trying to convey, getting a foot in the door will be nearly impossible.
We no longer live in a society where “survival of the fittest” is the rule to live by. No.
In my opinion, we live in a society where the best communicators are the most successful people. Think about it: Justin Trudeau-newly elected Prime Minister of Canada–is an eloquent and concise public speaker. President Obama is known to be, witty, funny, and quite charismatic. Although I know very little about their political stance, it’s clear that their public speaking skills and confidence are directly correlated to their personal and professional success.
I think you get my point; as an award winning public speaker, I am here to offer you some advice on the matter:
Anyone can be an amazing public speaker, including you. Yes, you! I believe that there is only one way to become a better, more confident communicator, and that is through practice. Google’s top ranked pages will show 11 step programs that supposedly make you into a better speaker. On the other hand, I think that practicing in your room, utilizing breathing techniques, and preparing your speech is all fine and dandy, but they do not address the core problem and that problem is that you fear public speaking, you fear judgement and you fear failure.
Remember, F.E.A.R. represents False, Evidence, Appearing, Real– you can overcome this fear of speaking in public. There is only one true way you can accomplish growth as a public speaker and that is…..wait for it…...to speak in public!
There are several public speaking groups out there, including ones that allow you to practice speaking in front of people in a safe, comfortable environment, where “failure” is completely acceptable.
Personally, I practice my public speaking skills within an organization called Toastmasters. Toastmasters International is a non-profit organization that dedicates its programming towards developing effective and confident communication skills among its members. They have over 16,000 clubs worldwide, with over 300,000 members in over 135 countries and to say the least, I absolutely love their learning environment. It’s the type of environment where you learn at your own pace, without mandatory programming to follow, and everyone in your club works towards achieving the same goal: – conquering their fear of public speaking.
My particular club is the Thames Valley Toastmasters located in London, Ontario. We meet once a week for two hours, and I can confidently say that the last 18 months with this organization have transformed my life.
I went from sweaty palms, feeling sick and an in-ability to communicate my ideas effectively with public speaking to entertaining 400 RBC bankers, pitching in front of investment panels and competing for the World Championships of Public Speaking in Las Vegas!
Toastmasters is worldwide, I am sure there will be clubs in your area also.
With practice, I guarantee your fear of public speaking will slowly subside and you will become confident in your speaking abilities. Most importantly, the absence of this fear will allow you to flourish within your personal life and professional career.
Remember, life is all about selling.
The F.E.A.R. series is aimed at start-up entrepreneurs, small business owners and anyone that wishes to conquer their fears. Every article will offer helpful pieces of insight and advice, based on the experience of industry champions and business professionals.