Public Speaking Anxiety?: It’s Just a Conversation

Public Speaking Anxiety?:  It's Just a Conversation thumbnail

I was 26 years old and had just learned that my presentation was selected for a large conference. There would be 200 people in the audience, the organizers told me, “so, be prepared.”  I was so excited!

As the sun rose the day of the presentation, my excitement changed to panic. Despite all my preparation and rehearsal, I could not shake the feeling that I was a complete fraud — undeserving of time in front of this audience. In tears, I called my father, a college professor, frequent conference speaker and the wisest calmest soul I know.

“Presentations are just conversations with the colleagues that create your community,” he said. “You’ve had plenty of conversations with people. Now, you are just sharing what you already know with more of them. If they weren’t interested in the topic, they wouldn’t be there.”

He added, “You are just one voice leading the conversation for a brief time. There will be plenty of people who came before you and plenty of people who will come after you. So, just enjoy the conversation.”

This was a powerful reframe. Instead of picturing myself as a naïve outsider in front of a judgmental group of strangers, my mindset shifted. I was now an equal, among colleagues and even friends, interested and eager to see what I would say. My shoulders dropped, my breath slowed and my voice was steady instead of shaky. The shift in mindset calmed me, and certainly made me a better speaker that day — serving both my audience and myself in a very good way.

That imagery has stuck in my mind for 20 years since, through hundreds of presentations.   Before I go on any stage, I think of my closest, most supportive friends, and imagine them in my audience. I smile and relax — after all, it is just a conversation.

Local Seminars Related to this Topic:

Dealing with Difficult People

LIVE ONLINE SEMINARS

May. 13

Pacific Time Zone

May. 21

Central Time Zone

May. 25

Central Time Zone

May. 26

Eastern Time Zone

Jun. 2

Pacific Time Zone

Jun. 9

Central Time Zone

Jun. 17

Central Time Zone

Jun. 22

Central Time Zone

Jun. 29

Eastern Time Zone

Jul. 9

Pacific Time Zone

Jul. 13

Central Time Zone

Jul. 20

Eastern Time Zone

Jul. 21

Central Time Zone

Jul. 28

Central Time Zone

Jul. 29

Eastern Time Zone

Aug. 3

Central Time Zone

Aug. 5

Eastern Time Zone

Aug. 10

Central Time Zone

Aug. 11

Central Time Zone

Aug. 18

Central Time Zone

Aug. 19

Central Time Zone

Aug. 24

Central Time Zone

Aug. 25

Pacific Time Zone

Aug. 31

Central Time Zone

Sep. 2

Eastern Time Zone

Developing Emotional Intelligence

LIVE ONLINE SEMINARS

May. 7

Central Time Zone

May. 12

Central Time Zone

May. 18

Eastern Time Zone

May. 27

Central Time Zone

Jun. 4

Eastern Time Zone

Jun. 9

Central Time Zone

Jun. 17

Central Time Zone

Jun. 23

Central Time Zone

Jun. 29

Pacific Time Zone

Jul. 8

Central Time Zone

Jul. 13

Pacific Time Zone

Jul. 21

Central Time Zone

Jul. 22

Eastern Time Zone

Jul. 27

Eastern Time Zone

Jul. 30

Central Time Zone

Aug. 3

Eastern Time Zone

Aug. 4

Central Time Zone

Aug. 11

Central Time Zone

Aug. 12

Central Time Zone

Aug. 18

Central Time Zone

Aug. 19

Eastern Time Zone

Aug. 24

Pacific Time Zone

Aug. 26

Central Time Zone

Aug. 31

Central Time Zone

How to Handle Emotionally Charged Situations in the Workplace

LIVE ONLINE SEMINARS

Jun. 9

Eastern Time Zone

Jun. 15

Central Time Zone

Jun. 28

Central Time Zone

Jul. 9

Eastern Time Zone

Jul. 14

Central Time Zone

Jul. 20

Pacific Time Zone

Jul. 29

Central Time Zone

The Women's Conference

LIVE ONLINE SEMINARS

Jun. 8

Central Time Zone

Jun. 17

Central Time Zone

Jun. 24

Eastern Time Zone

Jul. 14

Central Time Zone

Jul. 22

Pacific Time Zone

Jul. 27

Eastern Time Zone

Jul. 29

Central Time Zone

Related Communication Articles

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *