One of the great secrets of Public Speaking
The Secret to Overcoming Fear
“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” – Jerry Seinfeld
Maybe it’s not actually a fear of public speaking but a fear of public humiliation that’s the problem. Maybe, they’re thinking things like,
“I’m not afraid of public speaking. I’m afraid of looking like an idiot in front of my co-workers.”
“I’m not afraid of public speaking but I am afraid of humiliating myself by shaking, sweating and stammering in front of a group of strangers.”
The first thing to realize is that fear is natural. You wouldn’t be human if you weren’t afraid. We’re hard-wired to react this way. Speaking in public triggers the “Fight or Flight” mechanism which resides deep in our reptilian brain and we all know how it feels.
Bill’s advice (paraphrasing here): Get over yourself! It’s not about you. It’s all about the audience and your content. Are you nervous? Hands shaking? Bad hair day? Pants unzipped? Who cares? It’s not about you, it’s always about the audience and your content. When you are thinking about yourself you are “self-conscious”. When you focus on your content and how it can help your audience, you become what you should be, “content and audience conscious”. Actors refer to this as “getting out of your head” which means concentrating on the material and the scene you’re creating and not thinking about yourself.