A lot of you have built up fears about speaking based on imaginary worst-case scenarios. Here's a blog post for you.
Today's post is for those of you who have actually had a bad experience, and you're basing your avoidance of speaking on the fear that the one bad thing that happened to you will happen again.
But here's the deal: Every presentation is a blank slate. Every presentation is a free-standing event. It's a new day, a new audience, a new venue, a new take on your topic.
If everything about the situation is different, why would the same thing happen again?
And if you know that there's a possibility that the same thing could happen again, wouldn't you then be able to prepare for it?
And even if you prepared for it and it did happen again, couldn't you handle it better this time, because you've anticipated it and know how to conquer it?
I love this article by Seth Godin about waiting for the fear to subside. He says:
"By the time the fear subsides, it will be too late. By the time you're not afraid of what you were planning to start/say/do, someone else will have already done it, it will already be said or it will be irrelevant. The reason you're afraid is that there's leverage here, something might happen. Which is exactly the signal you're looking for."
"The fear can be your compass, it can set you on the right path and actually improve the quality of what you do.
Listen to your fear but don't obey it."
There's a little more, but that's pretty much the whole blog post.
Look at each presentation as an opportunity to start fresh. Whatever happened in the past is in the past. You can't change it, but you can have new experiences in the future.
Don't let the past have so much power over you that you avoid moving forward, sharing your message, and growing as a confident, skilled, successful speaker.