Fear of speaking in public is one of the most common fears. In a sense, it is a social fear often based on a feeling of insecurity. There are simple steps to overcome any social fear. Even speaking in Public. But you’ve got to WANT it first!
STRATEGY NUMBER 1
The most common way to deal with this fear is AVOIDANCE. And that’s totally fine.
Avoidance reinforces a neuro-network responsible for the fear of speaking: a trigger-response loop. The trigger is speaking the response is stress or survival mindset.
When speaking triggers a stress response we feel the panic in our body and believe the thoughts triggered by the stress hormones that say we are in ‘danger’.
The reward of avoidance is safety, which strengthens the loop. The more you avoid, the better you get at avoiding situations that make you uncomfortable.
If that is what you want
THAT IS TOTALLY FINE.
But if you are ready to grow and be more confident and less insecure in social situations or when speaking in public then use,
STRATEGY NUMBER 2
Changing the pattern.
The advantage of changing the pattern is that you gain more social confidence. Which impacts your life in a positive way. Think about how this could impact your career, relationships, well-being, as a parent, as a friend, or partner.
Not avoiding, but preparing for the uncomfortableness breaks the trigger-stress loop and builds confidence and builds feeling secure with yourself. How freeing that would be!
I Know how it feels!
I didn’t start just confident and speaking in public. It takes time. Confidence is a skill. Speaking is a skill, communicating and relating, listening and being present. They are all incredibly helpful skills! I learned through life experience, through ongoing self reflection, reading, watching others do what I could never imagine doing, yet!
What CHANGED? I decided to change the pattern. I changed my mind about who I was, I realized the Truth and allowed a new identity: ‘I am a confident speaker’ instead of ‘I am terrified to speak in public.’
I trusted my inner wisdom or higher self. Not by filling my mind with meaningless phrases, but by emptying it of what’s not TRUE or helpful.
It is simple: there are only two basic mindsets:
Learning how to identify where you are and how you can focus your mind into a growth mindset is the work. That’s the preparation.
Where do you start?
If you want to change the pattern and face the uncomfortableness, you could think about how you would challenge yourself. What Truth would you have to believe about you to make that happen?
For me, this was joining Toastmasters. But wait, don’t just jump in! You have to make sure you are prepared. I don’t mean prepare your speech, but prepare your brain! Your mindset!
How to prepare yourself? (for Toastmasters for example, but you can use it in any situation)
1. SLOW DOWN: practice self-awareness. Before you act or react, pause, take a breathe, check in with yourself. How do you feel? Is what you feel coming from fear or Love? Is what you are about to say or do coming from fear of love?
How do you know your thoughts are fear based? it doesn’t feel good. Too often we go in immediate action mode. We are reactive without taking responsibility for how we feel first. So, we quit before we start, or we fail and then we quit.
Do you have clarity why you want to do this? How would it make you feel when you overcome this fear? How would it help you in other areas of your life? How would you help others?
2. Practice hacking the stress response
3. Mentally rehearsing, imagination, recognize your obstacles.
4. Set a date, plan, just go.
5. Give yourself permission to make mistakes, goof, fail, even making a fool out of yourself. And remember, others are too busy worrying about themselves to even notice, and in a group like Toastmasters; we have all been there, or we are still there!
6. Make your INTERNAL REWARD most important. You are doing this for YOU.
Just showing up is your win, and while you are there, you have ample time to practice where you focus. Not on the stories in your head, but make a point to observe others, be curious and interested in what is going on. Success is your personal victory, not how great your speech is.
Keep practicing: it’s a skill, you will get better at it when you do it more. Competence builds confidence.
It is a matter of consistency, not backing out, stay congruent with who you Truly are.
Request a mentor, set a goal for yourself and get advice from a fellow Toastmaster. It also helps to keep the mind busy with a task.
Toastmasters is one great way to overcome your fears and social insecurity. There are many success stories.
Yours can be next, that is, if you decide to give it a serious chance.