Are We Afraid for the Wrong Reasons?
On his famously prolific blog, Seth Godin advises his audience "Fear isn't the enemy. Paralysis is the enemy." Pretty sharp, Seth. And applicable here. It's a careful and meticulous distinction between the symptom and the virus, but it reveals something inarguably true about the way we feeble humans are inclined to approach public speaking. Instead of simply trying to alleviate the fear, Seth suggests learning to "dance" with it. It's a powerful image – dancing with fear – and it's one which often helps Campfire's clients get over the willies.
How Can We Dance with Fear if the Music Doesn't Start?
Flash forward to your next speaking gig. Imagine you've cleared some of your mental hurdles and you've committed to take the spotlight to represent your idea proudly. But in the minutes before, that pesky adrenaline kicks in again, and next thing you know you're in survival mode – sweaty, shaky and nauseous. What could you possibly tell yourself to get out of this? Here are six quick mind tricks that have helped our clients find their "rhythm" and start dancing:
What's the Worst That Could Happen?
When's the last time you saw an audience throw tomatoes at a presenter? Or boo them off stage (present political climate excluded)? Yes, it's a competitive environment out there, but for the most part, your audience wants you to succeed. In a Forbes article on the subject, public speaking coach Lucas Mattiello says to remind yourself of the value your audience already expects to receive from you. He recommends literally saying to yourself, "I'm presenting to an audience that is here to learn from my expertise," which should alleviate some of the insecurity.
On your journey embracing Persuasion Design, you will undoubtedly face your fears. Every hero does in one way or another. If your fears involve public speaking, please remember these simple tricks and you just might surprise yourself.
But more importantly, remember to bow or curtsey to your partner. It's polite.