What’s your go-to excuse when you’re asked to give a talk?

fear of public speaking

What’s your go-to excuse when you have to give a talk or presentation? Does your fear of public speaking cause you to go straight into avoidance mode?

Many of us go out of our way to avoid doing something we dislike or fear. And the more we practice this avoidance, the better (and quicker) we become at devising original ideas.

There are endless situations we may try to avoid – a party or dinner we don’t want to attend; an assignment or project we need to complete by a certain date; a person we don’t want to go out with but don’t have the courage to tell them; and of course my personal favourite – speaking in public.

Our excuses are also endless (and some quite original). I have seen people suddenly come down with a mysterious illness when they were totally fine the day before. Or a relative suddenly dies and they need to attend the funeral at short notice. They may need to provide support to a friend or family member who is going through a crisis. Their dog or cat has just died (when you’ve never heard them mention a pet before). They may be just far too busy, or they may need to wash their hair …

The trouble with avoidance is that these excuses work for a while, but it doesn’t really help in the long run. The universe has a funny way of repeatedly presenting us with situations and challenges we need to conquer until we finally decide to deal with them. Sometimes we don’t even get a choice, and the decision is taken out of our hands.

Dealing with it

When we do decide to finally deal with whatever it is, it can be incredibly scary and uncomfortable. But if we do deal with it, there’s an amazing feeling of freedom and satisfaction in knowing that we did it. The sky didn’t fall down, the earth didn’t open up and swallow us, and (hopefully) no-one died. There may also be that feeling of “well, that wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be”.

Public speaking is one situation which many people keep avoiding over and over as the fear of being laughed at or judged by others is seen as ‘the big one’ (ie, some people fear it more than death!). Because of this, they may never know the satisfaction of overcoming this particular challenge.

I know what the fear of public speaking feels like. To avoid having to speak up, I would purposely not put myself in certain situations – and it worked. I successfully managed to avoid public speaking for many years and I thought I had it nailed. However, over time I slowly came to realize this avoidance wasn’t actually serving me in any way and that I was missing out on opportunities. So I chose to seek help. And I’m so glad I did as now I really enjoy public speaking and I love coaching others so they can enjoy it too. 😊

If your fear of public speaking is something you want or need to get rid of, contact me on robin@robin-owen.com

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