24.06.2010

Fearless Public Speaking

I used to hate public speaking. Sweaty palms, stomach aches… the works. However, over the last year or so I finally got over it. Speaking to a big room of people simply doesn’t bother me anymore.

It somehow happened over a relatively short period of time. I talked this over with a friend recently: ”what changed?” I think the following three points did the trick for me:

Know your material inside out. Throw away your index cards, force yourself to really internalize your material before presenting it. Mastery breeds confidence.

Practice practice practice. Every time you speak you’ll improve, and you’ll get a little more comfortable each time. Super obvious point, but speaking regularly does diminish the fear of it.

Set it in perspective. I think this was key for me. I’ve had several scares at the hospital during the last year (unfounded ones, fortunately!) Now I use that experience to ground myself before speaking. Compared to the loss of a loved one, how scary is it really to get up in front of a crowd of peers? “Remember that hospital waiting room? This is peanuts in comparison! Sack up, dude!”

Perhaps some of these measures will work for you as well?


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