It is said that FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real but, what I feel when I’m about to speak publicly to an audience feels so real to me! I recently had to speak to an audience upwards of fifty people as a presenter at an awards ceremony for my job. I was prepared with a speech, went over everything I needed to say and was fine until the moment I had to get up in front of everyone and open my mouth. I’m a very social person, I mean I can talk to strangers with no problem. I attend networking events or business mixers and give myself a goal of how many people in the room I intend to meet and I usually exceed my goal. I am not shy online and speak freely on my social media platforms as I do in person but, I’d rather do that than get up in front of a large audience and speak. I carry on knowledgable conversations with many and I’m sure other people would appreciate the subject matter, and maybe even benefit from it. I just don’t have an urge to get up in front of large audiences and share!
This is one of the main reasons whenever blog conferences open their call for speakers and volunteers, I’m the first one to volunteer on the social squad vs. speaking. I can tolerate being on a panel or even at a roundtable publicly speaking to an audience just not by myself. I recently went to a networking breakfast with over 200 working moms in attendance and they had a Q & A portion and I had a question but, didn’t open my mouth to ask! It’s really mind boggling to me! It’s like… I don’t want all the attention on me. I’ve been in a similar setting where I was put on the spot to answer a question and handled it pretty well. I’ve somewhat come to the conclusion that I fear judgement and rejection. I’m open to creative criticism and I handle that well, I know not everyone is going to like the way I do things. As a freelance Graphic Designer that’s why I concentrate on custom work and what people want, I like bringing my clients vision to life. It’s really funny but, 99.9% of the time I get the designs right on the first try and that is very satisfying to me.
So what can I do to get past this major hindrance? I see myself having to speak frequently in the near future for work and also pushing myself to maybe even pitch to speak on a panel at a blog conference in 2014… I need to fix this! We had a very in depth Twitter Chat about FEAR on #MomBizMondays and I was relieved that it’s a more common fear than anything! So, I’m not alone! Now I need to really push myself and face my fear of public speaking. I also need to master taking deep breaths when speaking, my anxiety kicks in and my heart races and I feel like I’m going to start to hyperventilate! My voice gets shaky and it’s obvious that I’m a nervous wreck! I always practice before speaking and I will only speak on subjects that I am familiar with, I don’t need the added stress of trying to be an expert on a subject that I’m not. I’ve heard of Toastmasters and may have to give that a try. So, what are some pointers you can give me to get me over this hump. Is this fear real or all in my head?
Food For Thought: I recently found out that public speaking is the #1 fear in North America. The second greatest fear is death.