Don't Talk to Strangers: How Caring for Your Audience Helps Stage Fright and Fear of Public Speaking
by Sandra Zimmer
So often, speakers feel that they are getting up in front of strangers. And worse, they expect that the strangers in their audience will be unaccepting or disapproving of what they have to say. The thought that they might not like you or agree with you triggers a terrifying reaction in your body and mind. The result is stage fright and fear of public speaking.
I tell my speaking students to focus on loving their listeners rather than worrying about whether they will like you or not. The latter holds no power. There is no power in being concerned about whether they will like you. The only power is in choosing to like them, care for them, be there for them.
So what if you changed your perception of the audience and chose to see them as friends? In doing so, your relationship with listeners changes to a positive connection. Since what you focus on expands and what you give out is what you get back, why not focus on caring for your listeners, audiences and groups?
The next time you have to speak to a group, look at them as friends who you are just getting to know. Take a little time at the beginning of your talk to get to know them. Maybe even ask some questions about what they know, think or feel about your topic so you understand where they are with the subject matter. Make speaking about listening to your audience and being with them in a friendly way.
As you engage them in conversation, talk to one person at a time. Hold a one to one conversation so that at all times you are just talking to one person. Then talk with another person. The magic of this is that when you are having a real conversation with one person, everyone in the audience feels connected with because there is a real connection happening in the room.
Finally, be genuine with them. Share the ideas and expertise and stories that have helped you. In the same way you would share new ideas with friends at a party, share your ideas, insights and expertise with listeners. Realize that you have no idea how much you might be helping someone with your speaking.
It's Your Time To Shine:
How to Overcome Fear of
Develop Authentic Presence
and Speak from Your Heart
...the book that has helped thousands transform
stage fright into powerful, authentic presence.
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