False beliefs are more damaging than a lack of skills. In fact, I daresay that it is far more challenging to learn new skills in whatever field when a person holds false beliefs. Most false beliefs limit, and diminish us.
There was a time that I was afraid to speak in front of others. Even today, there are situations when I am not comfortable delivering a speech.
The biggest problem is in the inner game. Public speaking is a mental exercise. And if my brain tells me lies, those lies become my reality.
I think this is also true for others.
So, the first step to learning how to become a public-speaking rockstar is to address these lies.
False Beliefs Are in the Stories We Tell
Examine the stories we tell ourselves.
There are so many speaking false beliefs that spread from one person to another. These speaking beliefs, which I call fiction, get passed from one person to another until everyone believes them as fact. Even speaking coaches teach them. Public speaking fiction spread are fake news.
I know that if I can separate fact from fiction, I can end the self-sabotage. I will know the real enemy, and I will defeat it.
I hear many of these fictions from Filipinos. Likely, you have not heard from all of them. But I know you can relate to at least one.
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An excellent public speaker must be good at English.
This speaking fiction is BS spread by some speech teachers who want us to learn English. Many of them are well-intentioned people, I know. However, some of them firmly believed that the ability to speak the English language fluently makes one sound intelligent.
Therefore, if you want people to listen to you, you’ve got to become a good English speaker.
Some schools have an “English only” policy. However, I am sure that many policymakers have read evidence-based research that advocates the importance of expressing oneself in the mother tongue.
Your ability to become an excellent public speaker has no connection to English. Many people whose first language is English fear public speaking. The language does not make you more intelligent either. So, cut the crap.
If you can deliver your message in a way that your audience can understand, do that. If you can speak Visayan to a Visayan audience, do that.
Because everything that will make it difficult for people to understand you is noise.
I have to speak without fear.
We speak without fear most of the time. We speak without fear when we are laughing with friends. We speak without fear when we are in conversation with people we trust. We speak without fear when we know that we will not fail.
But it is okay to have fears.
Because we fear when something is at stake, fear appears when we don’t know the performance outcome. Fears occur when we know that our audience may make decisions we don’t want.
Fear is normal. You will experience different levels of fear unless you have a fear-deficit disease.
What we can do instead is to work on some exercises that may help us convert our fear energy into confidence and enthusiasm.
It is okay to be nervous.
I cannot show that I am nervous.
Yes, you can. Your audience knows that most people get nervous when doing public speaking. They completely understand. They are on your side. Nervousness is normal to us human beings.
Of course, there will be greater expectations if one announces that he is the “best motivational speaker in the Philippines” or is the “best speech coach.” But even those people get nervous too.
Great actors, athletes, and performers get nervous.
You may not notice it because you pay attention to their display of skills. They know that they are scared too, but they pay more attention to more important things: the championship, the audience, or the prize.
As a beginner, don’t be too harsh on yourself. It is okay to be nervous.
That means you have uncontrolled energy. You will speak like a world-class speaker when you learn how to harness your energy. You will get there soon.
Nervousness will make my performance worse.
Nervousness will make your performance worse. I won’t say that this is not true. People anxious about their performance waste much time worrying.
That means they fail to have enough time to understand their audience, zeroing on their message, plan for speech delivery and audience involvement, and spend time in rehearsals.
They imagined the worst and made it happen.
When you are nervous, your body releases extra energy. Because you will perform, your brain tells your body to produce more. You can fight it, or you can harness it.
You can choose to spend your time understanding your audience, speech preparation, and rehearsal.
Then, by the time you get to speak in front of a crowd, you will be able to use your energy to serve your purpose. It is both a mind switch and physical exercise. When your body knows what you should do, it feels like riding a bicycle.
You will still be nervous, but you will pay more attention to what’s ahead of you.
People will laugh at me when I fail.
Your audience isn’t bad people. Speaking is a gift we give to our audience. They won’t laugh when you fail. They won’t even know if you fail.
I have seen many speakers have too much confidence; their speaking style borders on arrogance. As a result, people don’t like them. And because they don’t like them, they don’t listen to their message.
People will like you when you are sincere and authentic. Pay more attention to your audience because they will like you if they feel like you.
I cannot speak well because I am an introvert.
I am an introvert too. That means I am okay even when I am not at a party tonight. I can be a monk. I spend my time planting herbs, vegetables, and ornamentals.
But being an introvert has nothing to do with effective public speaking because an extrovert is not necessarily a great public speaker.
Even extroverts have public speaking fear.
It is a human thing. Extroverts may have more exposure, and that’s a good thing. You can build your skills and get more exposure too. You will do that because you have something important to say — and you have dreams you want to realize.
You can find more public speaking fiction. If the information you get prevents you from moving forward, it is likely not good for you.