My Mom and I walked into a breakout room together as we were attending a professional conference which was affiliated with my parent’s business.The main presenter approached her and asked her if she would please volunteer to read something aloud during his presentation as part of the program. Immediately, as if a cat-like reflex, she declined. She hated being the center of attention and did not feel as if she was a confident public speaker, or apparently public reader. As I giggled silently thinking why an otherwise confident woman would decline such a simple task so quickly, the following words flew out of her mouth, “But my daughter Meg here would be happy to help you with that.” The joke was on me.
After that interaction, I asked her why she declined. Speaking in front of others made her quite nervous. She never really had to practice this skill. Her job did not necessitate public speaking. Retirement was within a few years so her answer was to avoid it all together. It worked for her. Likely this was easier for her since my Dad made his living as a professional speaker. No need for two cooks in the kitchen, as she has many other gifts and talents, of course, though I have never forgotten this occurrence.
Don’t let fear prevent your growth
Since then, I have witnessed, many otherwise confident women shy away from speaking in front of others. I understand that fear of public speaking is a very real thing. It sends some into the spiral of anxiety. It can be extremely nerve wracking and the effects can be felt physically, no doubt. However, anyone who hopes to grow, evolve and develop both personally and professionally, must find a way to overcome this fear.
When we pass on opportunities to speak in front of others out of fear, we:
-diminish ourselves and our value
-let fear win
-limit ourselves and our opportunities for growth, both personal and professional
-allow our communication anxiety to grab a tight hold of us and our future
-allow our fear to stop us and prevent growth
Women who do not shy away from opportunities to speak in front of others, show up more confidently and oftentimes more competently. They may not love this activity but they do it. They know it is smart to take advantage of the opportunity to demonstrate their worth, accept these opportunities and conquer this fear.
Would you love to conquer public speaking? Commit to taking action.
Take Action- Build Confidence
“Action breeds confidence.”The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
The very first thing you can do to get over your fear of speaking in front of others is to make a commitment to yourself. Commit to action. You can not read your way in to being a confident speaker. You can not desire your way to being a confident speaker. You can not avoid your way to being a confident speaker. You must speak your way into becoming a confident speaker. Take action. Each time you speak in front of others you will build confidence.
What opportunities do you currently have or could develop in the future to speak in front of an audience? It will likely be something you want to avoid at first, feel the fear, keep moving. This is the only way you will improve. Commit to taking action. What resources do you have at your fingertips to help you improve your presentation skills? Who can you ask for help? What books/videos/online courses/tips can you access to get your started? You will never regret working on the skill of public speaking.
You can absolutely conquer your fear of speaking in front of others. Do you see the benefit? Forcing yourself out of your comfort zone will only empower you and enable yourself to own your power and show up powerfully!
Over the next month, you will see additional tips and tricks to overcome the fear of public speaking both here on my blog and my social media channels. Stay tuned and stay connected!
Meg Bucaro is a communication strategist and college adjunct faculty who is passionate about empowering clients to perform at their highest level by communicating with more comfort and confidence. She is especially passionate about positioning women for success by teaching them powerful communication behaviors. For more information on how to increase your credibility, likeability and influence, schedule a chat with Meg. https://megbucaro.com/contact/ or follow Meg Bucaro Communications here https://www.instagram.com/meg_bucaro_communications/.