Public speaking gets a bad wrap. The first time you were probably invited to address an audience would have been in your early years in school at ‘show and tell’. You’re asked by the teacher to bring in something interesting to the class and tell them about it. Easy enough, right? That’s about where our verbal communication coaching ends normally, and it’s no wonder that from there on a majority of people manifest real anxiety about speaking in public or a full on fear of public speaking.
I’m here to show you a new way to look at communication and fear and make it your best friend.
- Stage fright keeps you grounded.
It’s not about you; you are the messenger, not the message.“But, I’m the one standing on stage, how can it not be about me?” Well very simply put, you’re not there because you love the sound of your voice, you’re there with a job to do – entertain, inform or educate the audience. So with that take the pressure off yourself and focus on getting your information and emotions across to them.
- Stage fright allows you to keep delivering information until the end.
The audience is busy listening, so you’ve got to keep on talking. Ever heard of a bi*chy resting face? That’s misinterpreted over the years because it’s an articulate listening face. When a person is listening, they are fully present in the moment and not thinking about anything else. That means they probably won’t be smiling at you, or telling you to continue talking. You’ve got to remember they are taking in a whole load of new information; it’s your job to feed it to them.
- Stage fright keeps you on top of your game.
You won’t forget what you’re going to say; it’s your knowledge and experiences; they’re unique to you! When you’re on stage talking about a close friend on their wedding day or pitching your business to a new client, you’re talking about knowledge, experiences and emotions only you have felt. No one else shares the same history or memories as you do and therefore it’s only a story that you can tell because it comes from inside you.
- Stage fright allows you to prepare right.
We all too easily create scenarios in our head that easily mirror our worst fears – that we might embarrass ourselves. I’d like to propose you stop talking about speeches like they have an uncertain future. If you’re able to control 90% of the presentation, why think about what could go wrong? Your ideas, your words and how you deliver it have all been prepared and rehearsed, so there’s little left to chance.
- Stage fright means your respect the audience and their time.
If you were to stand up in front of a crowd with their undivided attention and ask them to all stand up from their seats, they all would. It’s as simple as that really, they will do whatever you are telling them to do (within reason), so it’s your job to make it worth listening to and give them a strong call to action if your presentation requires.