1. Talk About your Fear of Public Speaking
I went to give my first talk about my book at a library in my home town. There were about 75 people there, most of which were friends and family, and they all pretty much knew what the book was about anyway. But, I wanted to make it fun, I wanted to impress, I wanted to make the talk worth their while.
I practiced in the mirror, I practiced in front of my parents, I threw in some activities to keep it engaging and interact with the crowd, and I felt confident up until the very moment the host introduced me and said,
“And without further ado, here is Jordan Gross.”
Although I had essentially memorized what I was going to say, I had a moment of panic when I stood up in front of the crowd. So, I dropped the metaphorical cue cards and spoke freely.
Just a quick aside, this is not the theme of this article (maybe I will write one on this coming soon :)), but I do not recommend memorizing! This makes the speech feel less natural and fluid, and also could lead to major mistakes if you forget your place or can’t remember a word.
So, there I am, looking out into 150 eyeballs, and I say this.
“You know, I have this whole thing prepared in which I’m going to explain to you the book, and we’re going to do activities, and it’s going to be so fun, but I want to be candid with you for a moment. This is terrifying. This. Is. Terrifying. Public speaking is a scary thing. It is hard to be up here with all of you. I feel nervous, I feel a little bit anxious, I feel a little bit uncomfortable. But these are what I like to call now nerves. Very quickly these now nerves are going to go away and little by little they are going to turn into never nerves. So, in order to maximize the time that all of you are going to have here, I am going to put these now nerves behind me, focus on you guys, and get started enjoying our time together.”
Because I was vulnerable, I was real, I was genuine, the entire audience was able to come to my rescue, to come on my side. The rest of the speech went smoothly, but the majority of comments I received afterward were in regard to the courage I had in making that fist statement.
To aid in overcoming the fear of public speaking, let the audience know you fear public speaking.