4 Tips to Help Combat Your Public Speaking Fears
What’s one thing that you know you must do for your business, but have feelings of anxiety around? Mine is anything to do with speaking to an audience- public speaking, leading a group, television appearances. A lot of people have similar fears; some of this is due to inexperience and some is related to how people are naturally wired.
But I’ve found inspiration lately in reading Brene Brown’s book Dare to Lead. She quotes Joseph Campbell: “The cave you fear holds the treasure you seek.” So when fellow Southern C alum Vera Stewart graciously invited me to be on her show, The VeryVera Show, I knew I had to do it even though I felt nervous. I’d never been on TV before. What if I bombed? What would people think? All the insecurities and fears threatened to bubble to the surface. But I didn’t let them—I thought of that quote and of going after “the treasure to seek.” Wonderful brand exposure for my company King Bean Coffee Roasters, a connection and collaboration with Vera and, most importantly, the confidence to say I did it. I did it even though I was scared—these all were the treasures.
“The cave you fear holds the treasure you seek.”
The best way to combat nervousness is to come prepared. I reached out to communication coach Laura Mixon-Camacho (also a Southern C alum) to work with her in a crash course on media preparedness. In only a one-hour session, I learned a lot about the art of being on camera and left feeling more equipped. Laura gave me lots of great advice, but some of the major tips that stuck out to me were:
Bring the energy.
With video, you need to exude more energy than you would in person. I’m naturally calm and reserved, so being energetic is something that I knew I would have to mentally be conscious of doing.
Own your role.
Laura gave me a great tip that was a paradigm shift: Don’t think of yourself as a guest. You are there to make Vera’s job easier. This idea gave me ownership of my role on the show and therefore I felt more comfortable.
Have a strong opener.
For the interview portion, Laura suggested that I have a strong statement to begin—a statement that invites people to want to know more. The first question would be, “Tell me about King Bean. How did it start?” So we practiced my answer. Instead of my old spiel about my husband starting our business in his parents’ garage, Laura coached me to find a better, more intriguing, way to begin: “My husband, Kurt, was one of the first ones to bring fine coffee to South Carolina…”
Lastly, Laura reminded me to smile talk. By this, she meant that I needed to remember to smile as I was talking so I looked more welcoming and pleasant to the audience who didn’t know me.
All these tips led me to feel more confident the day of the taping. I showed up and put into practice what Laura taught me. Working with Vera, too, was a great segue into being comfortable on camera. Every time she turned to me with her wonderful smile, I relaxed. The show airs March 1 -3, (check your local listings) or you can watch it when it posts on Vera’s YouTube. Let me know how I did!
I don’t know if my anxiety will ever cease around being in the spotlight; I believe part of this is how I’m wired as a person. But what I can do is build my confidence, layer by layer. Let my self-assurance outpace my apprehension. Bring home the treasure that’s there for the taking. Thanks to Vera for having me on the show and Laura for the coaching. Together, we are better.