A recent survey reported on HuffPost 75% of adults are insecure, no afraid of Speaking in Public. Should make my job easy right — I teaching presentation skills. But those 75% who have to pitch and present would rather avoid, panic and hide if they have to do it. Where does that leave your business?
How to you become confident?
Confidence is built over time. How do you achieve it? Show up. Feel the fear and do it anyways. The question is do you want to get better? Or do you just want to build the discomfort up to such an unbearable burden that you are paralyzed by it. Then you hide. For doing ‘nothing’ is a choice in and of itself.
Actor and athletes alike dig deep and summon up courage. Even leaders will tell you they are afraid. Fear is part of who we are and it is a necessary aspect of us. Without a sense of fear we would not be able to discern danger. But fear should over ride your message! Should you let it drive the car and read the map and (God forbid) Choose the music. No!! What you need is:
There is no courage with out fear or risk. Without the tension there is no story, no game no event no thrill of victory because there is no agony of defeat also in the realm of possibility.
Making yourself uncomfortable will help you feel more comfortable in the same situation forever after. Sort of like getting your jabs or learning to ride a bike. You fall off the bike you get back on; you learn. The people who actually look the most awkward are the ones who are afraid to try. We call them finish speakers. They rush to the end. They hide behind a million data slides. They tell clever calculated innocuous jokes. They never really enter the arena.
Last week I listened as a senior leader in banking talked about mental health. He shared stories that were personal –about his brother’s attempted suicide, about the fact that his wife was uncomfortable when he cried at the birth of his first grandchild, the fact that he got it wrong when giving team assessments sometimes. Courage. He shared the negative, embarrassing and stories of failure. We see before us a man take off the amour of confidence. In that moment when he opens up the gap to let us into his real inner landscape we see him — the man; and feel –empathy being given permission to acknowledge our own similar feelings and moments of pain and embarrassment. The player, the speaker, the actor leaves the staging area bloodied bruised battered — but not broken. Stronger and more supported because they dared greatly -and left it all on the field.
Brené Brown, world class speaker, author and researcher talks about vulnerability and shame. When touring the circuit promoting her second book she was strongly advised not to read any of the comments on social media. But what do you do when someone says “…don’t think of an elephant in the room.” ? Betcha everyone has an elephant image in their head right now. She read the comments and the shame engulfed her. The comments were ugly and personal. She hid. Whilst in her cave she happened to come across a passage from Theodore Roosevelt’s address given at the
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ― Theodore Roosevelt
Name of her next book? Daring Greatly. To quote Teddy Roosevelt once more: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
How do you do that?
- First find a trusted friend who has the capacity to Listen Deeply holding the space and witnessing.
- Tell your story basing it on the theme or topic you have to deliver
- Allow the Listener –the Beholder of your story to feedback what they heard. When I coach I ask reflective (not informational) questions. You will then notice patterns and metaphors you where too close to the experience to see as relevant.
- Make a map of the story and there are a variety of tools to use: spider mind map, a graph plotting the action and choice points.
- Now identify the emotion of each of those events. Were they positive or negative? How did they make you feel? What was the outcome –what changed as a result?
- Now tell the story again. And again and again. Like an actor learns their lines; having done all the same work that you just did to uncover the subtext. Like an athlete knows the course and has practiced that move –that one move a thousand times. Not for perfection but for permanence.
- Start speaking. Sharing that story with others from a public platform. Start small then find bigger and bigger platforms.
Then it becomes your powerful tool. Your insight and experience that enCOURAGES other in their quest for confidence. When you start to count on yourself –that’s confidence.
If you present regularly and would like to really tell your story to make a difference in the lives of your audience; encouraging ACTION. Perhaps you are getting asked to speak and you find yourself turning it down? Let me help you define your story and tell it with impact. I’d love to listen to your story and convert gripping fear to the excitement and courage.