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Can Fear of Public Speaking be Your Friend?

Blog / Can Fear of Public Speaking be Your Friend?

An AK47 against the temple is a pretty frightening possibility.. almost as much as standing at a lectern, palms sweating and a mind bereft of the first word of a presentation. An expectant audience waits in deafening silence.

I would probably collapse in a blubbering heap in the first scenario, but when it comes to public speaking there are two key truths that apply. Firstly, standing in front of a group of people and delivering a speech is something we are not wired to do as adults. The second involves the notion of confidence. Confidence is a skill, not a gift. Each of us, regardless of temperament or personality can LEARN confidence. An acknowledgement of these two elements allows us to safely and boldly lean into the discomfort of speaking in public.

Stage fright and nerves might seem to be something that resides in the mind. Thoughts of doubt, your inner critic and audience expectation can fill our awareness, stripping us of the ability to just release and trust our capacity to communicate with others. The mind may be the source of this restriction, but the body provides the solution. In years of working with actors, this concept forms the base of the development of process and the craft of performing. The body holds the key to learning confidence.

We all grew up around story telling. As three year olds we were infinitely able to embody a story without fear or doubt. In the big bad adult world it is easy to escape this skill that each of us were born with, but knowing that this ability was intrinsic to who we were, means it is simply a case of re-learning an old skill. When we accept this approach is when the bubbling energy of fear becomes a source of inspiration and engagement.

The adult then returns to where it all began - and sees the place for the first time with grown up eyes.

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