The fear of public speaking. According to The National Institute of Mental Health about 75% are affected by this social phobia including myself.
I honestly don’t know how the fear started because I did presentations all the time. Maybe the fear came from not knowing everyone’s thoughts or the thought of being embarrassed in front of everyone.
Fast forward, I became an author and started saying ‘yes’ to sharing my stories. I said yes to an opportunity to speak at my alma mater. I even said yes to participate in a pitch competition that I had to prepare the night before. Let me also mention I was SCARED!! So how am I fighting against this fear?
Pray. It doesn’t matter how much I try to prepare myself studying everyone’s tips and strategies if I don’t pray and ask for boldness I doubt I would be able to even stand in front of an audience. I ask God to get myself out of my thoughts, to stop caring about what others think, and that He’ll get the glory. I also ask for Him to give me the words to say because I don’t want to be random.
Write it down. I write in my journal all the time so it’s a no brainer when I write down what I’m going to say to a crowd. I’m not writing to remember line to line but it makes me feel comfortable and stay focused so I won’t ramble.
Take notes. I like to observe how people present in front of an audience.It’s very helpful listening to other speakers and watching how they keep the audience engaged.
Practice. You ever meditated over what you were going to say in your mind but when it was time to speak it didn’t come out that way? lol! This happens to me sometimes so I try not to overly practice but I do go over what I’ll say out loud.
Be you. God gave us unique traits that makes us stand out from others so what’s a better way to use it than in public speaking? I’ve noticed my bubbly personality captures an audience attention while another person that tells jokes all the time captures an audience attention. However God made you to be, when you speak let it shine in confidence.
I pray one day my heart can stop beating hard out of my chest, that my hands will stop getting sweaty, and I won’t wait until sometimes the last minute to give my cares to God. As He continues to give me strength I will continue to share my story.
Remember there’s value in your story and someone is out there waiting to hear it.