Why Fear Public Speaking When Presentation Skills Training Can Be Fun?
Many of us fear public speaking worse than death. Yet, confident public speaking is not that hard to achieve if you are willing to practice some basic presentation training skills. Just like learning to walk, the more you practice, the better you get and the more fun you can have.
Over 20 years of experience has demonstrated that most of us know basic presentation technique pretty well. Also, the more we relax into service, the easier speaking in front of others becomes. Could these two observations signal a fundamental connection between relaxing, service and confident public speaking?
For most of us, speaking in front of others increases stress. We become tense, breathe less and start thinking about the worst that can happen. We lose contact with our audience and ultimately confirm our worst suspicions about our ability to present. The more we think about our precarious situation we have now unconsciously created, the more we doom ourselves to being correct about why we fear speaking in public. Crazy!
What if the most powerful step in mastering public speaking is both one of the simplest and ironically one of the easiest to avoid or forget?
Serving others versus performing for yourself
You’re presentation skills will drastically improve the more you focus upon serving your listeners rather than performing for yourself. The first step is to become present to your listeners and their needs, wants and wishes. Instead of remaining in the dark and distant reaches of your head, listening to the little voice of your own ego, ask yourself:
• Does that little voice care at all about serving others or is its goal making sure you perform in a way that further justifies its existence?
• If all your energy is focused upon your own dark thoughts, how inspiring and engaging are you and your message going to be for those who came to hear you?
• Moreover, have you ever noticed that little voice in your head is not always your best friend?
• Not only that, if that little voice is actually you, then who is listening?
Ego thrives on performance.
Start paying closer attention to ego’s message and you will discover that it often has to do with separation and comparison. For instance, “Do they like me?”, “I could have said that better.”, “I should have worn another color today.” and “They just don’t understand!”. Listen closely and you will find that most if not all of this conversation has to do with measuring your performance against some perfect picture. Your little voice is an expert on what you are doing or saying wrong and the more you listen to it, the more you lose touch with your present reality. This of course insures more stress. These often cause more disconnect and pretty much insures your perceived failure as a public speaker. What is there to do?
Service, your key to success and the antithesis to egotistical performance demands.
Pure service is transparent. The more you disappear into serving someone else, the less focus and energy goes towards you and your little voice. You come out of those deep dark thoughts and into the light of service and success. You connect. The more you can practice serving others by catering to their listening the more you will master “moving” them into action towards your intended result. Here are some tips:
• Get present. The more you can actively practice being here, now, the more you will be open to connecting with what is going on around you. To help accomplish this, the more you dare to feel, the more present you are likely to become.
• Breathe in an inspiring manner. Most of us take in just enough air to survive to our next breath. How inspiring is that? Inspire comes from Latin and means to breathe in spirit. What if the deeper you breathe, the more you feel and the more inspiring you become?
• The less tense you become the more you will enter into the flow of life around you. Making every deep breath a joy will help.
• Listen with all your senses from a platform of service. Look closely into your listeners’ eyes with curiosity and an intention to serve them. Focus on discovering what is still missing in your message to allow them more space and energy for understanding and action.
• Reflect and respond with the appropriate words and conscious body language to help promote their understanding regardless of what your little voice thinks.
Whether you are a beginner or an expert public speaker, standing for and speaking from a platform of service will give you more power and leverage to deliver your message. The more present you are to serving, the less energy, focus and stress your ego will steal from you and your message. Your nervousness and fear of failure will lose their grip and your confident public speaking abilities will rise to the surface. You may even enjoy yourself!