Do you really want to overcome the fear of public speaking? Like for real, for real? Or just kinda sorta wanna?
Let me tell you a little secret: your chances of overcoming the fear of public speaking without speaking in front of a real audience is almost zero.
Information alone ain't gonna cut it. Then again, neither will "just do it" suffice. Unless you are able to practice in front of an audience or somehow mimic that experience with precision, you will not be able replicate your physiological response to fear.
By imagining an upcoming speech, you can definitely trigger some form of anxiety. The equivalent would be like learning how to swim in a puddle, though. You'll get wet but you'd likely drown when it came time to take the plunge.
When you stand face to face with a mob of eyes looking back at you, the pressure gets a little thicker. Entirely necessary, however, as it's during those occasions when you get the chance to combine INFORMATION with EXPERIENCE. That is the mixture of growth.
I’ve noticed a trend. When people ask me for advice on how to overcome the fear, they usually have these two things in common:
- They have a speech coming up...like SOON.
- They expect a magic pill (information) that will solve the problem immediately.
My response in these situations has to be a) overly simplified and b) geared toward tips that will give the most immediate relief.
Make no mistake, the advice I give can help the speaker tremendously in combating nervousness. Still, I don’t delude myself into thinking that the speaker will be able to overcome the fear in a day or two, or a week, or even a month. The fear is so deep-seated that it’s just not going to happen overnight. Especially when they aren’t able to practice in front of an actual audience before their actual speech.
My only objective in those situations is to minimize fear as much as possible to make the experience more tolerable. That’s it.
Regrettably, once the speech is over and done with, the person usually loses interest in overcoming the fear. Out of sight, out of mind. The threat is no longer staring them in the face, so why continue with the mission?
It’s essentially chronic procrastination. They wait until they’re blindsided by their next speaking opportunity and then suddenly it becomes important again. I get it. This is human nature.
That doesn’t make it any less disappointing to see it happen over and over. Solving the riddle of fear has become my scientific obsession and boy does unfinished business piss me off. When someone asks me for help, I want to make sure they get over this fear for good. Not just a one-off Band Aid that gets discarded.
Think about it next time you encounter a speaking opportunity. Remember how you feel leading up to it, and even during. Doesn't it suck? And besides, there are SO MANY REASONS to overcome this gigantic fear!
By breathing a sigh of relief and forgetting about it after it's over, what you're really doing is shoving the clutter (fear) into the closet like you did when your parents would tell you to clean your room. One of those days the rooster is gonna come home to roost.
Are you ready to get serious? If so, there's a better way to do it:
Information + Experience = Mission Accomplished
Share this post with those that are serious!
About this guy...
Howdy! My name is Matt Kramer and I used to suffer excruciating death when speaking in front of a group, now I LOVE it. Overcoming this fear has changed my life and it can change yours, too. My focus is to help you overcome the fear of public speaking so you can build the confidence to go after what you want in life.