The paper on which my speech was written was unreadable. My hands were shaking so much. The font was too small. I was not able to see what I carefully and passionately crafted for that audience. My legs trembling uncontrollably. A wave of warm and cold sweat running up and down my body. Closing up my voice, drying out my mouths, speeding up my pace. My heart was racing.
The nights before have been sleepless. So eager and excited to receive the gift of the audience’s time. I could visualize myself, speaking confidently, naturally, and enjoying doing it even. And other nights dreaming of horrible scenarios of being mocked, rejected and humiliated.
Last night, I knew my speech by heart. Yet I took the paper with me.
That evening, I was performing in front of a supportive audience. Yet I was scared of being judged.
Every day, I was confident about my topic. Yet I felt like a fraud.
So, how did I go from being paralyzed with fear at my first speaking gig, to speaking confidently on the ”Red Dot” at TEDx?
Having a Resilience process helped to overcome this challenge.
Speaking in Public was though.
But not as tough in comparison to what I went through before in my life.
At 21 years old, I had a car crash. I was disfigured (now repaired though!), lost my boyfriend, failed my university exams and was diagnosed 45% disabled. (Learn more on Cécile‘s Story and how to Bounce Forward by watching her TEDx Talk – Click Here).
This Life accident has been a burden for many years.
For the longest time, I felt inadequate.
Stepping on a stage was my worse nightmare but also my wildest dream.
This led me to eventually articulate, use and share a Resilience process that many can use. Perfect to handle small and big traumas. And, it helps to deal with some cases of Glossophobia.
Step 1 – Face down the situation, make a fair inventory of your strengths and weaknesses.
OK, so you might not be the best speaker right now. So what?
What are you scared of?
Where is your shame coming from?
Is it your reputation?
Is it how the others look at you?
What is really at stake if you bomb?
Make an objective list of what you are good at and the things that are hampering your performances. Clarity of where you stand helps you focus your efforts. If you are too negatively biased, ask a trusted person to help you with this list.
First, have a fair evaluation of your public speaking abilities.
Step 2 – Visualise the speaker you want to become.
You have access to millions of videos on YouTube. Drop the dancing kitten for a while and pick a topic you are passionate about.
Use this platform to select 3 to 5 speakers you look up to.
How do they talk about their expertise?
How do they connect with the audience?
What do they do to command the stage?
Take the time to analyze how they do it, and be inspired by them. Remember, the stage is an opportunity to perform the best version of yourself. Be authentic.
Next, ask for support. You can find it via Public Speaking clubs, Trainers, Coaches. This will help you to concentrate your efforts. Ask professionals to highlight what you need to keep doing, add or remove to multiply your impact.
Next practice often.
Practice very often.
Practice as often as possible in front of an audience.
Second, have a vision of the speaker you want to be. Ask for help to concentrate your efforts on learning rhetoric techniques. Practice.
Step 3 – Make peace with your past and move on
Whatever led you to dread speaking to an audience and avoid presentation situations.
Let it go. I know very well that this is the hardest part!
If you want to be visible in your company;
if you want your ideas to be noticed;
if you need your case to be heard.
You must have a competent level of Public Speaking.
There is nothing soft about communication skills!
You need it to function in the world.
Third, take the time to look back at what you consider negative speaking experiences and heal.
Make peace with your past.
Forgive, and sprinkle it regularly with gratitude.
A lot of it.
If you suffer from an acute Fear of Public Speaking: Bounce Forward, be Resilient!
How do you do it?
First, take the time to assess your level. Second be inspired and work at learning, practicing and mastering rhetoric techniques. Last make peace with your past and move on.
Your life is ahead. Bounce forward!
If you want to become a competent and confident speaker, manage your Fear of Public Speaking and work on your Communication Skills: Check the list of the Group Training Events (Next Sat. 14 March 2020), Individual & Corporate Programmes.