October 20, 2008

Stop focusing on the fear



"95% of the population has some type of fear of public speaking."

"Surveys regularly find that high anxiety about giving a presentation scores at the top of lists that also include snakes and death."

"People fear public speaking more than anything else."

"Several surveys indicate that Americans rank speaking in public as their number one fear."

"Surveys report 70 to 75 percent of the adult population fears public speaking and approximately 85% of the population have experienced stage fright while giving a speech."

Okay, I get it. We all get it. A lot of people are afraid of public speaking.

But is it possible we're giving too much attention to the fear of public speaking and not enough attention to the enjoyment of public speaking?

Focusing on the negative just results in a self-fulfilling prophecy. Focusing on the negative gives negativity and fear power over you, whether or not there's a basis in reality. Focusing on the fear makes us think we SHOULD be afraid. (See Seth Godin and Alan Weiss for recent posts relating this concept to how our perception of the current economy is affecting us as entrepreneurs.)

I love public speaking. I love just about everything about it. How about we focus on the enjoyment of public speaking for a day? I'll go first.

I enjoy watching my early drafts turn into a concrete message.

I enjoy finding out what my audience wants and giving it to them.

I enjoy creating the games, activities and handouts that will bring my message alive.

I love laughing with them and watching their enthusiasm grow.

I enjoy the energy they give back to me when we are in sync and connected.

I love meeting them beforehand and chatting with them afterward.

I enjoy the relationships I build with audience members and event organizers.

I even enjoy the pre-presentation anxiety to the degree that I know it's pumping me up to do my best.


Now it's your turn. If there's even one thing you enjoy about public speaking, please share in the comments.

Let's "accentuate the positive" for a change. And how about, instead of just talking about enjoyment of public speaking for a day, we make the effort to focus on the positive all the time?

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6 comments. Please add yours! :

Rich Hopkins, Speaker, Author, Coach said...

I love the fact that even when I think I'm off, can find a list of things to improve on next time - I can still get laughs, knowing nods, and people telling me I've changed the way they think.

Tony said...

I agree with Rich. I love public speaking. I really feel pretty comfortable in front of a crowd. And, the more, the better. I didn't grow up that way. But I grew into it. And just absolutely dig speaking. Two things I love about speaking - making people laugh and turning on light bulbs in minds.

Patricia said...

I haven't had a chance to public speaking very often. My job doesn't necessarily require it. When I have had the chance of being in front of an audience I'm ok as long as I'm well prepared (stating the obvious here, right?). Without a doubt, my favorite part is meeting new people, exchanging ideas and hearing stories of what I've inspired them to create.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Rich, Tony and Patricia - thanks for sharing! There's so much that's gratifying about public speaking. Let's hear some more!

Annette M Lavigne said...

The joy I receive in Speaking is when I can convince others that they can do the same...When the penny drops for them, they are never the same person as they were when I started with them..They usually have a gleam in their eyes that projects and oozes self confindence...This is my high!

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thank you for sharing, Annette. I feel the same way!

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