Slap on your scuba gear of life and get ready because today we’re going deep. The Three S’s will not only help you overcome the fear of public speaking, but they can change your life.
I owe a lot to these three principles because I struggled with each one mightily, like a child trying to reel in a great white with a string tied to a toothpick. I continue to use them.
It’s likely they might sound silly. It’s quite possible that I’ll come off as an overbearing positive nut. However, the sooner you come to terms with this wishy-washy crap, the sooner you’ll reach your potential. Growth baby!
The First S: Self-Love
It’s okay. Forget all the bad shit you’ve done in the past. Quit re-living it. Quit thinking you’re not worthy because of some past screw up. Here and now, start fresh. Each day, love and accept yourself.
Accept that you’re human.
If you don’t love yourself, you won’t believe that others could either. Think about it. If you can’t please yourself, you won’t believe that you're capable of pleasing others. It’s an endless cycle.
It’s deeper than you think, too. It may not be something you consciously think about, but it follows you around beneath the surface.
So how can this help you in public speaking?
Well, why do we fear being in front of others to begin with? One of the most common reasons is this: we care too much about what others think about us.
But get this. If you love and accept yourself, what does it matter if somebody else thinks you’re a dumbass? Even if you are one, as long as you approve of you, it doesn’t matter.
Go get a motel room for one and show yourself what a good date you can be.
The Second S: Self-Compassion
Have compassion for yourself.
Life can get pretty rough sometimes and it can be easy to get down on yourself. Be sympathetic to your cause. Don’t forget that you are a human being and that you deserve to be treated with kindness.
One exercise I’ll do from time to time is people watch. I’ll spot a person who looks like they’re not having the best of days, and I’ll put myself in their shoes.
I imagine myself as them, from the moment they wake up and take that first step out of bed.
I run through their thoughts.
Why is this person getting out of bed today? What goals do they have? Does anyone give a crap about them? Are they loved? Is their boss a scumbag? Do their paychecks even cover their bills? Do they hate themselves? What’s for lunch?
I feel their pain and it fills my veins with compassion for them. Try it. You’ll feel like Jesus dying for their sins.
Now, do this same exercise with yourself.
Separate you from, well, you. Pretend you're a narrator watching yourself go through the motions of life. See your fears. Feel your pain. Sift through your thoughts.
Realize the fact that you’re deserving of love and compassion. And who better to give it to you than you?
As you compile opportunities to speak, and even though many experiences will suck, remember to have compassion for yourself throughout the journey.
The Third S: Self-Encouragement
You’re going to fail and embarrass yourself many times in life. It’s also likely that, in those instances, you’re going to get mad at yourself. But when we get mad at ourselves for our screw-ups, we hold ourselves back—we limit our potential to grow.
We hold ourselves to high standards. Sometimes too high. This causes us to “fail” even more because we create artificial ways to fail.
When I started public speaking, every mistake I made was rewarded with an internal beat down. I let nothing slip through the cracks.
If I forgot to say something I had planned to say...MISTAKE! Jumble a word or two...MISTAKEEEEE! Like a dreadful alarm clock.
My internal critic has a mistake detection system and it prides itself in catching them—all of them. And not only that, Mr. Critic would always let me know that mistakes would not be tolerated, mainly by calling me derogatory words.
All this did was persuade me to avoid my weaknesses. Sure, it was a great way to avoid making mistakes, but it’s no way to live. If you aren’t pushing yourself into uncomfortable situations, you’re not growing.
Here’s the solution: encourage yourself!
No matter how badly you screw up, find something that you did RIGHT. Seriously. If you get up to give a presentation and your mind goes completely blank before you utter a word, you can still encourage yourself. Why? At least you showed up! At least you agreed to give a talk!
Encourage yourself every chance you get. It will keep you motivated instead of leaving you feeling hopeless, which is what internally abusing yourself will lead to.
Sum it up...
The Three S’s have brought me some peace. They’ve helped me overcome the fear of public speaking. In less than 2 years they’ve helped me get out of my comfort zone more times than in the previous 26 combined.
Read 'em and weep!
2. Self- Compassion
Adopt them and set yourself free.
Do you use the Three S's? Let me know in the comments and don't forget to share this post!
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. In less than a year since, I’ve started this website, Tactical Talks, competed and won 3 separate public speaking contests, wrote a book, and spoke at one of the top universities in southern California (SDSU).
And look, I’m not telling you this to “show off.” My purpose is to show you that it’s possible to start doing the things that YOU want to do. And that’s my goal. 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.