The fear of putting yourself out there as a communicator
We have been talking a lot about how to expose ourselves on stage, in front of an audience, or in front of the cameras to self promote ourselves or our company. Every time we need to highlight ourselves, an anxiety and fear effect start to take control, most of all the fear of failing, or making a fool of ourselves. Therefore, when we take on the decision of putting ourselves in that role, in a certain way, we are also fighting against all our public speaking fears.
All these fears, they are absolutely normal, as a public presentation is not, in fact, a simple task. And, as such, I bring you this article today!
Types of exposition
All of us know that these events where we expose ourselves on stage can be very intimidating. On the other hand, exposing ourselves on video or in front of an audience and share ideas with the online and offline community means having all eyes on us. In both cases, we are put to the test, and therefore:
⦁ Before the publication of articles in text or video, we can always correct and redo until we have the desired final product.
⦁ In a public presentation, a (possibly) more unpredictable speech is possible, as it is live.
We can here compare our roll with an actor´s role in soap-operas, when there is a mistake, or part of the script is forgotten, and then simply the scene is cut and the show goes on. However, in theater, everything happens live, which may result in changes or adaptations with which we did not count with initially.
In terms of permanence on air, an online published video will stay there maybe forever (even if not posted by us directly, but reposted by others). As the popular saying goes: “once on the internet, always on the internet”. While in public presentations our speech will only last the time that we determine, when it hits the virtual world, its existence can last throughout indefinite time.
Thus, the first big task is to prepare a solid speech that we know well and that allows us, independently of our stress levels, to not fear not knowing what to say.
Types of audiences
An impromptu speech can be great in informal events such as weddings, birthday parties, baptisms, or other type of events such as speeches in company dinners. However, all these events happen in a more intimate context, where the connection to some (or many) people in the event already exists.
In these types of events – more private – where we speak more from the heart, we show a side of us that does not belong to the public sphere. It is more on personal feelings that can only be understood by members of the family or groups of friends.
On the other hand, the situation changes when we put ourselves in front of a camera for our self-branding or to promote our company or the company for which we work.
The situation also changes when we put ourselves on stage in front of an audience and talk to a large group of unknown people (some of them may also be juries evaluating our performance in case it is a contest).
These situations, by themselves, provoke anxiety and fear due to the unknown nature of the events
⦁ Who/how is the audience assisting our speech?
⦁ Do I know the audience?
⦁ Will the people who see me make negative comments regarding my performance?
⦁ Will I be able to be successful in the Q&A stage?
All the “ifs” and “will it?” will just create more anxiety and less capability of facing the fear of public speaking.
The importance of training
Preparation is key for success
We all, once in your life, have considered that we could perfectly do something for ourselves at home so that we did not have to resort to services. Whether it is cutting our hair, change a tap or painting the walls. However, we know very well that with professional support, our task had been done in a better way and we would feel more safe.
Being followed by a communication consultant can be a great way to assure that we will have an excellent performance on stage or in front of the cameras. However, even when working with a communication specialist, there is the need to practice.
How to do it?
While our family and friends are the most receptive to hearing our speech before we present it on stage, not always is their opinion the more certain, as we cannot predict impartiality when there are emotions involved.
However, we could be our own evaluators:
⦁ Record ourselves doing the planned speech;
Currently, all our smartphones have that functionality. This recording will allow us to:
⦁ Understand basic non verbal behaviors;
⦁ Understand if the tone of voice is adequate or if we need to make any adjustments; and our tone of voice.
We can always do more recordings, adapting and adjusting ourselves until we reach the aimed goal. After understanding that these two essential aspects are adjusted, we can then focus more on the content of the speech and do last improvements, that will bring us more confidence on stage. The more training, the better.
While the presented content is extremely important, we should remember that body language (the way we communicate non verbally), in tune with our tone of voice, represent a gigantic 93% of our communication, and as such, it is obviously useful to record ourselves and to be our own evaluators within those parameters.
When we hit the verbal communication part, the speech so to say, remember of the importance of message supports, using the 3 part rule in the first place. We can also show our script to 2 or 3 different people especially to someone in the strategic communication field, who knows how to attract an audience with their message.
This being said, the most important is to remember to maintain ourselves calm, as anxiety will only lead to forget what we planned to say and that will consequently increase our stress. We should try and make the most out of that moment on stage to self promote ourselves in the best way possible, as the visibility and exposition that we will have can be excellent for future projects.
We know that these visibility and exposition that we will have can be excellent for future projects. Although this visibility can be great, it can also be frightening, and as such, we should remember that being confident of ourselves and absolutely prepared are the keys for success!