“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!