The fear of public speaking. Many people fear talking in public at school, work or social gathering, but how do you overcome the fear of public speaking? Some believe it is nearly impossible to overcome the fear of speaking in public and lose sleep over it or avoid any roles or public speaking opportunities because they are overcome with anxiety. On average people rank public speaking as more fearsome than death. Often when the fear of public speaking over powers a person, he or she ultimately hurts both his or her personal and professional lifestyles. If you get sweaty palms, get nervous to the point you freeze on stage and feel as if your heart will burst out of your chest any time you face a public speaking engagement, it is time to get help. Communication expert and public speaking coach Kevin Abdulrahman sits down to chat with Career and Workplace Examiner Briana Booker to offer tips on how people can overcome the fear of public speaking. Abdulrahman has coached people and companies of all industry backgrounds on becoming better public speakers. Some of his clients include actors, associates, ambassadors, board members, CEOs, delegates, executives, entrepreneurs, senior managers, thought leaders, partners, presidents and royalties. Here are great tips from Kevin Abdulrahman:
Briana Booker: How can someone overcome public speaking fears?
Kevin Abdulrahman: Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to face it. Like all fears, the best way to overcome your fear of public speaking is by tackling it head on.
BB: What are common causes of public speaking fears
KA: Like many fears, the most common one is the fear of the unknown. We as humans tend to be terrified of the unknown. Our mind plays mean tricks with us. The second common fear is freezing and blanking out. No one likes it, and by God, many will go through great lengths to avoid it. The third is the terrible feeling that you are being judged. What if you stuff up and get it wrong? How would you look? What will the audience think? That sinking feeling of wanting to just shrivel up and enter deep beneath, the very ground you are standing on. All are very common fears. All are rather simple to dissipate.
BB: How can one better organize his or her thoughts?
KA: In the book, ’60 Minutes To Better Public Speaking’, I speak of a concept called Flow. Think of a river flowing. Effortless. When organizing your thoughts, first write them out. See it. Say it. Feel it. Does it make sense? Does the information and what you have to say make sense? Does it flow? Think of it another way. You are telling a friend what you did over the weekend. It comes naturally to you because you are following a sequence of events. Your thoughts to deliver a talk or presentation is no different. It’s a whole lot easier when you have flow.
BB: Is speech anxiety common?
KA: We all get the feeling of being anxious. It is the feeling we associate with it that is most important. Think of a time when you asked someone on a date. You were anxious, but it was positive. Great speakers and even performers will tell you they get anxious before getting up on stage. They get butterflies. But they actively choose to associate a positive feeling with their state of anxiousness. For example, It’s a lot more fun standing up and moving around than it is to be glued on the seat for 15 minutes.
BB: How can someone become a better public speaker?
KA: There are many great orators around. There are plenty of resources, by way of books and trainings courses. Anyone can get better at public speaking by doing two things: One, learn the strategies applied by great speakers. Two,practice those strategies over and over again until it becomes second nature.
BB: How can someone practice and prepare for public speaking?
KA: Take every opportunity one can get to stand up and speak. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. Ask for feedback from those willing to give you their honest thoughts,even if it may start off hurting your feelings, you will be better off when you know what holes need filling.
BB: Does sipping water help improve public speaking?
KA: Water is always good. Warm water. If resources are plenty, a dash of honey and lemon would be just lovely.
BB: How often do you speak in public?
KA: On average, I speak 3 to 4 times a week.
BB: Do you get nervous? If so, what are the symptoms you feel?
KA: Getting nervous is common. It is a good sign you are alive. It is the same feeling you get when you do anything that is new, different or even fun. The key is the meaning you choose to give the feeling. Some choose to have a negative feeling, and others choose to have an excited feeling. Rock stars who have been singing for 25 years still get butterflies in their stomach. They are nervous but with a positive feeling.
BB: How do you deal with stage fright?
KA: Speaking is not about you. It is about the audience. Care for the audience.When you stand up to speak, you are doing your job to deliver a message.If you remember this point, you will realize that there is nothing to be afraid of.
BB: What would you recommend to a beginner speaker for dealing with stage fright?
KA: The best way to deal with any fear is facing it. At first, like many, I wasn’t good at speaking. But it’s ok, because we all start at zero. The key is to learn how to be good a public speaker, and then practice it, over and over again. The more you do, the more confident you will become. And here is a small gift, the book on public speaking will give you the tips and strategies to help you rock your stage. Remember, your ability to speak with impact will reflect on how your customers will view you, your product, services, value proposition, competency and credibility. ’60 Minutes To Better Public Speaking’ will help you become a better public speaker. That’s my promise. These techniques have worked with Presidents. It will work for you.
Whether you want to influence boardroom members, lead a staff meeting, address your association, represent your company as an ambassador, deliver a sermon, present your project, you are required to stand up and speak. In this competitive business world, savvy and successful individuals know that their ability to speak is a critical skill. Some realize this sooner, others, later. Everyone reaches the same conclusion- there is no escaping Public Speaking.
BB: Thank you so much Kevin for taking the time out to give us sound advice on public speaking and how the book ’60 Minutes To Better Public Speaking’ can help those in need improve their communications today.
About Kevin Abdulrahman: Abdulrahman has delivered over 3000 talks and seminars in 50 countries. He conducts high-level communication consulting assignments with several billion-dollar corporations and leading governments. ’60 Minutes To Better Public Speaking’ is available in 27 languages through Amazon and all major bookstores. For public speaking training and speaking requests by Kevin Abdulrahman, contact Sarah, Info@KevInspire.com.