How confident do you feel when you stand up to speak?
How connected do you feel to yourself and to your audience?
If you're like most people, you are a bit glossophobic (afraid of public speaking).
Let's look more specifically of exactly what you are afraid of when you
consider getting ready to speak in public.
Dr. Roger Flax, President of Motivational Systems, an executive consultancy
in the States surveyed 12,000 sr. execs which he'd worked with over a
period of 10 years and asked them what there reasons were for being fearful
of public speaking. His results were published in 'American Salesman'
magazine in 1990 : here were the top 4 answers:
63% afraid of being boring
71% afraid of freezing or forgetting
77% afraid of ruining their career or reputation
81% afraid of making an embarassing mistake
Can you relate with any of these fears?
Would you like to feel more connected to yourself and to others when you
Dr. Stephen R Covey cites in his book 'The 8th Habit' , a survey called 'The
Harris Poll' of 23,000 employees done in 2007 - it found that only:
15% felt they worked in high trust environments and only
17% felt they had open communication in their organisations.
This means that there is not a lot of trust or connection happening in
So what keeps us from being fully confident and connected?
TWO basic emotions:
The first one is SHAME:
Did anyone ever tell you to pull your head in? Have you ever experienced
public humiliation? Were you ever told you weren’t good enough, you
shouldn't be a 'tall poppy' or a 'skite', or a 'show-off'? Did you ever feel you
didn't fit in? didn't belong?
We learned to pull our head in and to not risk looking the fool - better to
tone ourselves down a bit to be safer...yet safer also can mean less
So, are you interested in inspiring others when you speak?
Then, perhaps you might need to challenge any feelings of 'I'm not good
enough' or 'I'm not ready'.
The other emotion which stops us from connecting fully with others is:
Did you ever feel that you were just a little bit better than other people?
Which of these two emotions are you more familiar with? Shame or Arrogance?
Do you think you're a bit less than everyone or a bit more than everyone
Ideally we want to be right in the middle...don't think too much of ourselves
or too little of ourselves.
So are you holding yourself back, not fully allowing your voice to be heard?
In my work with business leaders and in the'Giving Dynamic and Engaging
Presentations' workshop at The University of Auckland, I teach 'Seven Steps
to Powerful Presence' which all support people strengthening their
confidence and connection while speaking.
Do you still feel you're 'not good enough' to be a speaker?
A few months ago, I was at a committee meeting with the past president of
the New Zealand Speakers' Association, we were all asked who was
interested in becoming the NEW President of the association. I had a little
voice come up and say 'I am'...which was drowned out right away by 'you
haven't been on the committee long enough'...'you’re not ready...maybe next
year'...I held my tongue and didn't say a word.
Later when the past president called me and asked me, "Sally, will you be
willing to step up as our new President?"
I thought, 'I’m not ready...I have to wait til I'm more experienced...a better
speaker...a better leader'. Another voice in me said, 'Take the plunge, go for
it!' I ended up accepting the challenge and becoming the current President
of the National Speakers' Association of New Zealand, and it's been a
tremendous experience...I've been encouraged to step up and to find and express
my own 'voice of leadership'.
So, DON'T wait til you feel good enough - you might never get started. ..the
time is NOW - not later...remember to consider the reality of your time limit
here on earth.
Here's to you strengthening your confidence and connection and moving
your communication up the scale from ordinary to inspiring...taming your
fears and discovering your 'voice of leadership'.
Sally Mabelle, ‘The Voice of Leadership’ Specialist. www.sallymabelle.com - Inspiring clear, confident, and connected communication for personal and cultural transformation.