Why do we have the fear of public speaking? We have the fear of making a mistake, we are afraid of making a fool of ourselves, and we are afraid of being judged. We have a self-image of ourselves in our mind and the fear of losing this self-image when we get in front of people is what makes us afraid of public speaking. Here is something you can do to overcome your fear of public speaking …
Video Transcript and Relevant Links
Why do we have the fear of public speaking? We have this fear because we are afraid to make a mistake in front of others, we are afraid of being judged by others. There is this self-image that we have in our mind of how we present ourselves to others, how we want others think about ourselves and this self-image is actually the fundamental issue why we have the fear of public speaking.
I’ll tell you a little story. Earlier in my career, as a software engineer, I was working on a new software product and one day a customer had come into our office and my boss came to me and said, “Can you give a demo to this customer on the new software product.” I wasn’t prepared. It was an impromptu thing. I wasn’t really prepared for impromptu presentation and especially with the software being very new it was quite buggy as well.
So, the combination of me being nervous and not being prepared for an impromptu presentation added to the software being buggy, I was extremely nervous about giving a presentation to a prospective customer. But I still did it, I ended up doing it. I had to do it and it did not go well. My presentation skills were not up to the mark and the software being buggy made the whole thing a disaster in my opinion.
Fortunately, the customer was very understanding that the product is in its infancy and could see through some of the things. But yet I think my presentation skills could have been far better to mitigate some of these effects.
Later that day my boss came to my office and had a conversation with me and hinted to me about my presentation skills or improving my presentation skills. I took the hint and I asked him for some of some of the suggestions on what I could do to improve my presentation skills and he gave me two options. He said I could join Toastmasters, or I could do Dale Carnegie’s public speaking course. Later I looked up both the options and Dale Carnegie’s presentations course was like a two-day course but very expensive and Toastmasters was more like a non-profit organization with regular meetings or weekly meetings where I could go practice my public speaking skills. And it was a no brainer for me to choose Toastmasters at that time.
So I did, I joined Toastmasters and I was pretty regular in practicing my public speaking skills at Toastmasters and it helped. The regular practice helped me improve my presentation skills. I got good feedback and I kept improving. But what I noticed is even though I was practicing, the fundamental nervousness, the fundamental butterflies in the stomach, that sensation of having butterflies in the stomach still did not go away.
Every time I went to give a presentation, I would still feel nervous. My mouth would become dry, my heart would be beating a little faster, my palms would become a little sweaty. So, all that signs of nervousness were still there but I was getting more comfortable giving presentations but at the same time, that nervousness was still there. The practice didn’t help me eliminate that. It was still there, I just learned to deal with it.
But what I noticed is I started practicing meditation sometime later. And with that meditation techniques, I could notice the nervousness started going away. Now, this is very interesting. I spoke about self-image in the beginning. It’s the mental self-image of ourselves that we want to preserve that causes the fear of public speaking, making mistakes and fear of being judged.
The interesting thing about meditation is meditation helps you drop the self-image. It’s like in sleep, when you sleep, you don’t know who you are, you don’t know where you are. That’s the self-identity, the self-image is disappeared in sleep. But in sleep, we are not conscious. In meditation we are conscious, and we have the ability to drop the self-image, to drop that identity of who we think we are. And with the regular practice of meditation, you’ll notice that your ability to drop your false identities and this false self-image becomes greater and greater.
And with that regular practice you’ll notice your nervousness for doing, taking risks and doing public speaking also drops. I think the combination of these two is what makes it very powerful. The practice is absolutely required. So, if you don’t have a place of practice, I would recommend Toastmasters which is a great place to practice your public speaking skills. But along with that if you can learn meditation techniques which will help you deal with your self-esteem, self-image. That combination of practice and meditation makes it very powerful to overcome your fear of public speaking skills.
The practice is required because when you practice you get out of your comfort zone. But in meditation, you learn to be comfortable with any situation. So, the combination, this combination is an extremely powerful combination. That’s what worked for me, both the practice, as well as my meditation practice, made it very helpful for me to overcome my fear of public speaking skills.
So if you enjoyed this video leave me a comment or a question and I’ll see you in the next video.