3 Myths of Public Speaking

This article appeared in the Charlotte Observer on Sunday July 22 2007. the original copy can be found here http://www.charlotte.com/business/story/206834.html

Keys to overcoming fear easier than you think
MARSHALL LOEB
MarketWatch
If you are one of the estimated 15 million Americans suffering from a phobia of public speaking, take heart. The trick to overcoming your fear may be as simple as re-examining your basic assumptions about public speaking, say Harrison Monarth and Larina Kase, communications coaches and authors of the new book “The Confident Speaker.”

Here are three public speaking myths:

• Myth No. 1: Everyone can tell I’m panicking!

Your feelings are harder to read than you think. No one but you knows your heart is racing, so take a breath and try to calm down.

The lesson: You’re probably doing much better than you think.

• Myth No. 2: People are judging me.

Many of us mistakenly believe that nervousness automatically counts against us. But most audiences respond better to speakers who exhibit discomfort. “Most people have some level of worry about speaking in public, so when they see your nervousness, they may empathize with what you’re going through,” Monarth and Kase write.

The lesson: The audience is probably on your side.

• Myth No. 3: Postmortems will help me improve.

Those of us who suffer from a fear of public speaking are our own worst critics, write Kase and Monarth, and we tend to use the postmortem as an opportunity to ruminate over our missteps, which only exacerbates the problem.

The lesson: Skip the post-game analysis.

While I generally agree with this article, I must take point with the Myth Number 3.

Even if you hate Public speaking, it is vital that you at least debrief with yourself about how you went. This will help you improve endlessly. Even if you have no intention of doing any more public speaking because you stuffed it up, it is better to work out why you stuffed it up so you can avoid the mistakes in future situations, or similar events.

Cheers

Darren Fleming
Australia’s Public Speaking Coach
Australian Public Speaking courses

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