Friday, May 18, 2012

Great advice on overcoming the fear of public speaking (and other things too)

Thanks to Attorney@Work for this really good tip on how to overcome one's fear of public speaking. It boils down to reminding oneself that everyone in the audience wants you to do well; they're pulling for you and don't want you to flub it. It's advice that really works and can be applied to a host of scenarios. In my own case, after I've taught a class that didn't go especially well or the times when I've lost confidence in my ability to reach the students, I've found that reminding myself that they really want the class to succeed - they want me to help them learn - has pulled me out of whatever temporary slump I was in at the time. So take it from both Ruth Carter at Attorney@Work and me; this is a tip that works.

The Best Public Speaking Advice

I have had the pleasure of being a public performer for 22 years, as a gymnast, a classically trained singer, a flash mob performer and, more recently, a speaker on legal topics. Despite all of my experience, I still get nervous. Before most performances you will find me pacing backstage asking myself, “Why is this fun for me?”

The Advice That Changed Everything

My nerves used to get to me. Sometimes I would get so nervous that I would shake, and I would be so worried about being nervous that it would hurt my performance. And then I got the advice that changed everything. I was at a student singing recital at Oregon State University when one of my classmates told me, “Remember, everyone wants you to do well.”

That advice changed my life and the way I approached performing. It completely shifted my focus away from how nervous I was to putting on a good show for the audience. It became all about my audience and not about how I felt standing in front of them. That advice made me realize the audience is there for an experience, and it’s my job to provide it.

You can continue reading Ms. Carter's column here.


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