In a study of 2000 women it was found that the very idea of standing talking to an audience is so loathsome that women would rather go to an early grave. The study found women fear making a spectacle of themselves, and are terrified of stuttering, tripping up and looking foolish.
Some of the other fears uncovered by the study seem understandable: fear of losing family members, being buried alive, fire, snakes, spiders I can kind of identify with but at number three of the top twenty, fear of speaking in public seems tremendously sad and avoidable.
Of course I would say that wouldn’t I, it’s what I do for a living, but it wasn’t always that way, in school I had a debilitating stammer and used to try every trick in the book to avoid having to read aloud or stand at the front and speak to the rest of the class.
So what changed? Well I found my voice and I found it through authenticity. When it comes to public speaking you need to feel confident and be fully prepared in order to give a good presentation and you can only do that when you are truly authentic and clear about the message you want to share.
Once you are clear on your USP and your desire to shine your light more brightly you’re only a few ‘tweaks’ away from learning the skills to be a confident public speaker. Your enthusiasm will be what carries you through, we’ve all heard boring speakers who drone on while letting the powerpoint do the work and in contrast we’ve all heard amazing speakers who engage the audience and inspire us. My aim is that I will do my own survey in a years time and a high percentage of women will have public speaking nowhere near the top of their list of fears. In the words of the great Susan Jeffers ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’. If you have an authentic message to share, its your duty to get it out there!