What do you fear most: death or public speaking? Numerous studies show that it’s the latter that strikes terror into our hearts.
But like it or not, you need this skill – and not just if you have a high-flying career and are called upon to give a keynote presentation.
In the end if you’ve got something to say, there’s a time when you need to say it. It might be a work situation. It might be a volunteer role. Somehow you’ve got to override the terror and step up to the plate.
Failure flashes in front of you in neon light. What if I make a fool of myself? What if I’m mediocre? The latter question is a good thing to worry about. Most speeches are boring – too waffly, clichéd and self-serving. They are endured not enjoyed.
On the flip side, public speaking can be an extraordinary opportunity. You can inspire others. At the right time, the right idea can transform a person. In our hearts, we all know that.
I won’t lie. Speaking at TEDx Canberra a few weeks ago scared the pants off me. But as American scholar Brené Brown says, you have to put yourself in the arena:
“I’m constantly reminding myself that I can’t wait until I’m perfect or bulletproof to walk into the arena because that’s never going to happen. We just have show up and let ourselves be seen – that’s my definition of ‘daring greatly.’”