I don’t care what you call it, public speaking is just one person (you) talking to other people (the audience) about something you know (your topic).
Sounds simple right?
Well leave it to us humans to make things complicated!
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I’ve spent tons of time freaking out. Judging myself. Predicting the terrible. Worrying that no one will care what I have to say. And worst of all, believing that I need to know every single little thing about my field (for example the entire freaking field of cognitive psychology) before I could even allow myself to speak.
Now that is a whole lot of fear and anxiety! Especially for something that will take, maximum, 1 hour of my life? And probably less.
Freaking out is very a human thing to do. But that freaking out is ultimately coming from a lie that we believe deep down.
Below I’m going to dispel the #1 myth about speaking that can paralyze speakers everywhere.
The #1 Speaking Myth:
You need to convince your audience that you’re an authority
OMG. This is the worst. feeling. ever.
The feeling of being an imposter.
It is where you feel like you’re not a real -fill in the blank.
Everyone is going to find out!
Then they will laugh at you!
A series of unfortunate events will be triggered!
Then your life will be over!
Anyone? No? Just me?
But they Already See You As An Authority
And here’s why:
Being a speaker is a template in each audience member’s mind. You’re just sliding into it. People already know what to expect.
You don’t have to reinvent anything. You don’t have to prove that you’re a worthy person to talk. And you don’t have to command authority to force people to listen to you.
Here’s How to Get Over It
Realize that your role as a speaker is a template for those watching you.
In their mind, they already have an idea of what a talk is like.
They already know what a professor does. Or a guest speaker. And a business pitch presenter. Your classmates and teacher already know what to expect from a student presentation.
They’re already prepared to:
Sit their butt down. Listen. Take notes. And view you as someone who knows what they’re talking about.
You don’t have to make this happen because the template does it for you.
So all you have to do is step into that template. The template of a speaker!
Yes. You Fulfill the Speaker’s Template
A template is a group of connected ideas in our mind.
That means a template is a set of ideas about how something generally goes.
Like, “making dinner.” You have a template for that.
When you think, “I’m going to make dinner!” do you ever also think, “Ah how can I convince my family or roommates to eat food I’ve made in the evening (then help me do the dishes)?”
You just do the thing you know about.
First, you chop up the veggies, make the food, and spread the word that its time to eat. And other people do the thing they know about (which is to eat your food and avoid the dishes).
This means you have a template for making dinner and sharing it. You have a template for dishes. For grocery shopping. For watching a presentation. And for hearing a lecture.
The situation itself will guide you into acting in line with what you know. You’ll automatically just go stand up there, say things, maybe point to some visuals, and end with “any questions?” Followed by smiling and looking at the audience.
This is true for your audience too. They’ll listen to you meaningfully because that’s what hearing a talk is like.
You Got This!
So take a deep breath, and go slide into the template of a speaker.
You’ll do this just be standing and speaking. Easy!
Good luck. 🙂
Dr. Erienne Weine
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