Imagine this scene- you’re attending a meeting or presentation and one of the leaders rises to speak. Maybe he is going to share news of outstanding revenue growth or of a new product or program the company is launching. He moves to the front of the room and as he does, he is looking at the floor. He gets to the podium where he looks briefly out on the audience. Then, eye contact is lost. He stumbles, stutters, and quietly works his way through the presentation as he reads directly from his notes.
As you sit in the audience, are you focusing on the message? Or, are you taking note of how fear of public speaking has gripped this person and diluted his message?
We can all realate to times when our fears, whether rational or not, get the better of us. The key is not to let you fear “win” by holding you back. There are several steps you can take to help alleviate the fear taking over the situation.
- Anticipate- Think about all the possible outcomes of the situation before you put yourself in the situation. As you think of each outcome, concentrate on what about each outcome causes you anxiety. How can you reduce that anxiety?
- Prepare- Whenever you are facing a situation, preparation can help diminish the fear level. If you’re afraid of heights, for example, think about all possible ways that a situation is secure before you put yourself out there. If it is public speaking that makes you fearful, make sure that you have spent the appropriate time preparing your notes. These are just a few examples.
- Practice– Regardless of what your fear is, practicing your approach is a critical step in making you a success. Are you fearful of approaching a potential new client? Make sure you practice how the discussion or meeting will go. It will make it feel more natural when you actually make the call or arrive for the meeting.
- Succeed- You’ve taken the time to work through all the potential obstacles in your mind, so now you need to go out and succeed!
The same steps hold true for almost any fear that may dilute your message. Whether it is fear of a person who intimidates you, fear of public speaking, fear of not succeeding, fear of writing (even a blog), all these things can make you freeze and not get your message across. By taking a step back, we can regain composure and confidence and make the most of any situation.
Do you have any tips or tricks you use when you are facing a situation that makes you uncomfortable? Share them with us in the comments….