Guest Blogger Dr. Doreen Downing talks about public speaking, especially for writers.
As a writer, you may be able to put words on a page, but … do you have the confident voice to access your words when you must speak in public?
If you don’t feel confident, and if you feel anxiety, doubt yourself, hold yourself back, then what you write won’t reach as many ears or as many hearts as you’d like.
When I ask my clients what holds them back from feeling at ease speaking about their work, the answer is always fear.
And, bottom line, it’s the fear of being judged.
It’s true that a judge could be sitting in the audience, listening for your mistakes, and counting your um’s, but more likely than not, the judge that criticizes you the most is perched right inside your own head.
In fact, you could be your own worst critic.
Ask yourself now to listen to what you say about public speaking. Note if you hear a voice telling you something like this…
… You are going to forget what you have to say, go blank, and mess up… or
… Your nerves are going to show, and everyone will notice.
I know I can’t tell you to simply disregard the thoughts in your head.
But I can suggest a way that will lead you to the amazing voice that comes from your true self, the Essence of who you are.
And once you learn how to drop down and tap into the strength that comes from your Essence, you will be able to speak with a natural confidence.
I’ve taken this inner journey to find my true voice, and I wrote about it in my book, “The 7 Secrets to Essential Speaking: Find Your Voice, Change Your Life.”
As an author, I know what it takes to find my words and put them on a blank page, but I also know what it takes to find my words and share them in public, on podcasts, radio shows, videos, book events, and conferences.
If you see public speaking as an avenue that will help you bring your passion out into the world, then you’ll want to make sure you have the confidence to be in the spotlight.
Where do you find this confidence? The answer lies within you. In other words, confidence is an “inside job.”
Going within means you must first face your fears and explore their roots. In early childhood, were you welcomed and celebrated by your family? Did you get their applause when you danced in front of them?
Even if you had favorable reactions as a child, other influences outside of family dynamics that shape your self-confidence include cultural messages, personality, trauma, and experiences during your school years, with peers and with teachers.
Once you’ve uncovered the root cause of your fear, you’ll feel the relief that comes with knowing why it’s been so difficult to control your nerves.
And, this is the moment where the transformational journey of “fear to freedom” really begins. You realize your authentic voice has been buried underneath your fears. Now you are ready to unlock this voice so you can speak in public and share whatever you have said in your writing.
Two of the secrets I reveal in my book, Presence and Connection, are keys to speaking with ease.
With Presence, the idea is that when you are fully present in the moment, you are not thinking about negative speaking experiences from the past, nor dwelling on the future with its possibility of failure or disapproval. You are unafraid and more self-assured.
Likewise, with Connection, you may already be comfortable speaking one-to-one which makes this natural ability so powerful when you apply it to a group. Being with and speaking directly to one person at a time creates a genuine connection with an entire group.
In addition to guidance and instruction on how to be more Present and Connected, you’ll find my book takes you beyond scripts and performance techniques to connect to your authentic voice.
If you are ready to overcome anxiety and empower yourself to speak in front of groups, the one step you can take right now is to download the 7 Secrets to Fearless Speaking.
Dr. Doreen Downing is a Psychologist, Author, Keynote Speaker, and Host of the Find Your Voice, Change Your Life Podcast.
She once suffered from stage fright. In facing this debilitating condition, she discovered a unique and simple way to connect to one’s authentic voice, the very Essence of who we are.
Her book, “The 7 Secrets to Essential Speaking,” has become an instrument for people to tap into their inner strength and speak with confidence.