“Before someone can change, they have to learn, and before they learn, they have to cease being scared.” – Seth Godin
I think this says it all. Before you can be a better public speaker, you have to cease to be afraid of it. However, with public speaking, there is room to be a little scared. The fear can be used to keep you honest, keep you alert, and keep you grounded.
In your quest to conquer your fear of public speaking, ask yourself this: What have I learned so far? Who can I ask for help? Where have I found the best advice?
If you keep striving to overcome your fear of public speaking (or any other fear for that matter), you will achieve your goal. You just have to keep believing and keep learning.
“It takes longer to say “I can’t” than “I can”. Get in the habit of saying “I can” and save yourself some time.”
I’m not sure where this came from. I heard someone mention it the other day and I LOVED IT! This is a great attitude-checking statement. When it comes to public speaking and feeling like you can’t do it because you’re afraid, think to yourself “I CAN do this!”. Keep that positive mental image. Even if you don’t truly believe it … yet. This goes to the adage “fake it until you make it”. If you can keep telling yourself that you CAN do it, then you will be able to at some point. Just keep trying.
“If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
– Andrew Carnegie
For those of you unfamiliar with who Andrew Carnegie was, he was a self made millionaire who built his fortune primarily in the steel industry in the late 19th and early 20th century. I like this quote because it remind us that sitting around and simply reading about something doesn’t really help us. In the case of fearing public speaking, it holds true even more.
I am a big believer in “immersion therapy”. The idea is that you overcome the thing you fear by continually facing it. With people who are afraid of public speaking, this can be a daunting task. The catch-22 is that you’re afraid to speak so you don’t get up to speak. By not getting up to speak you never gain any confidence from facing your fear. You can’t overcome your fear if you don’t face it so you stay afraid. And now we’re back to not speaking because you are afraid.
Try to find small ways to face your public speaking fear everyday. Try talking to everyone you meet: clerks at the grocery store, someone standing next to you in an elevator, etc. You will find that the more you talk to people everyday, the more confident you will become. Higher confidence will lead to a stronger will to overcome your fear. That could lead to being able to get up and speak. The more you get up to speak the more confident you will become. And now the catch-22 is in your FAVOR!
“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” – Albert Einstein
This quote reminds me that, when it comes to public speaking and the fears we have, that:
We are the cause of our fear. It was something in us that eventually drove us to have this fear.
We need to have a new mindset or paradigm shift in order to get past that fear.
It’s always possible to overcome fear and adversity. The main issue here, as mentioned by one of my favorite people to quote, is that we have to change our way of thinking in order to overcome the obstacle. The things you do to improve your situation are one method of changing your mindset. For example, the fact that you are looking for quotes and other resources for public speaking is already helping you with that mindset change.
So, keep moving forward and keep moving to a new mindset. Eventually you will find that your thinking is different from when you were afraid and it’s at that point you will have overcome your fear.