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  • Writer's pictureLiza Engel

A Year of Successful Presentations - Overcoming your Fears to Achieve your Goals

Public speaking, often perceived as daunting, can be one of the most empowering skills when mastered. Your incredible ideas deserve to be heard and understood by many.

Are you ready to embark on a transformative journey to turn the fear or anxiety of public speaking into an opportunity for personal and professional growth?

Here are the first three steps: 

Step 1: Understanding the Root of Fear

Our first step is acknowledging the root of our public speaking anxiety. Often, it's the fear of judgment or failure that holds us back. By confronting these fears, we begin to understand them, which is the first step in transforming them from daunting obstacles into empowering motivators. Understanding how and why we experience fear allows us to assess and better understand our physical and psychological reactions so that we can respond thoughtfully instead of reacting. Then, you can focus more on your audience and less on your fears. 

Step 2: Develop your Growth Mindset

View public speaking not as an innate talent but a skill you develop over time. This perspective will foster greater resilience and a willingness to learn from each experience.

After most of my speaking engagements, I circle back with specific questions that I follow up on to fine-tune my speaking skills. There is always something that I can learn for next time and this gives me energy.

Step 3: Practice and Exposure

Regular practice is key. We spend hours learning new skills, which is what all speaking experts do. How can you expect to finish your last slide at 11 pm the night before and then deliver and nail the most important presentation of your year? Practice does make perfect. Delivery of your content is at least one-third, if not half, of what makes an excellent presentation. When was the last time you planned your preparation for a presentation to include this much time in practising and tuning the delivery? 

I know a very successful woman who sets up practice groups for her most critical executive pitches, and she even assigns roles to her mock audience to help her improve her presentation content, delivery and Q&A. With this kind of preparation, your anxiety will lessen because you are breaking down a complex challenge into smaller manageable parts, which makes the process less intimidating and more achievable.

If this still sounds daunting, I recommend starting with smaller, less intimidating settings and gradually increasing the challenge. This consistent exposure reduces anxiety and builds confidence. Whether contributing more in meetings or joining a speaking club, each opportunity is a step towards becoming a more confident speaker.

Image by Ioann-Mark Kuznietsov on Unsplash

Bonus Step: Focus on your Focus

One of the most important sentences that helped me last year was the following:

What we focus on expands.

Do you want to focus on those who might judge you? What would happen to your energy if you concentrated on living your purpose and the impact that you will have on others who are open and ready to receive your message? There will be critics in every audience, but more importantly, there will be allies who want and need to hear what you have to say.

This journey is not just about improving your speaking abilities; it's about developing a deeper understanding of yourself and your capabilities to have a more significant impact. 

Becoming a great communicator and speaker is a process filled with learning and growth opportunities. So, let's step into this new year to turn our fears into our strengths, one presentation at a time. You got this! 

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