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How to Get Over Your Fear of Public Speaking
Episode 531st August 2022 • Faithful on the Clock • Wanda Thibodeaux
00:00:00 00:18:12

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In this episode...

How to Get Over Your Fear of Public Speaking

Intro teaser paragraph:

Do you fear public speaking? Most people do. Episode 53 of the Faithful on the Clock podcast provides not only practical strategies to soar as a speaker, but also how to get past trauma-related hurdles that muffle your voice.


Timestamps:

[00:05] - Intro

[00:36] - Glossophobia (fear of public speaking) affects a huge number of people. It’s important to address because most of us will be asked to do it in some capacity for work, and because it influences how people view our competency and ability to succeed.

[01:33] - Scriptures such as Matthew 12:37 demonstrate that there is importance in being mindful of your words. 

[02:19] - The first key is to understand that there is probably an underlying fear behind your trouble. My belief is that most people fear being ostracised, losing opportunities, or being forced to be alone if they don’t do well.

[03:00] - The ostracization we fear likely will not happen. Most people are actually rooting for and can be empathetic to you!

[04:04] - Many people feel they need to sound smart when they speak and load up their talks with unnecessary details or jargon. Follow Steve Jobs' advice and keep things simple.

[05:23] - As Krystale Littlejohn recommends focusing on clarity, not sounding smart. Simplicity is just one element of this. Ask yourself if you’re really communicating what you meant and get feedback to be sure that you are. The feedback can reassure you of quality and meaning, thereby lowering stress.

[07:53] - Practical tactics for getting through public speaking can include memorization, familiarizing yourself with your venue, imagining something funny, etc.

[09:02] - Trauma and/or abuse can make public speaking difficult. It’s not often talked about, but statistically, it’s likely that someone in your office will struggle. We must be cognizant of this so we don’t worsen their pain.

[09:55] - My personal story of how trauma influenced public performance

[11:29] - The only way to resolve trauma-based problems is deep inner work to resolve your insecurities and experiences. Research indicates that interpersonal, movement-based therapies can help retrain the nervous system to a better state of calm.

[13:15] - Be careful not to minimize or dismiss trauma you might have had. It’s common for trauma to make memory recall difficult, and complex trauma still can be incredibly damaging. If you struggle to get consistency and none of the other strategies are helping, consider your experiences and try interpersonal, movement-based options.

[14:53] - Give yourself time to improve your public speaking skills. You’ll get better if you stick with it!

[15:48] - Prayer

[16:35] - Outro/What’s coming up next


Key takeaways:

  • Glossophobia–fear of public speaking–is incredibly common, with up to 75 percent of the population suffering from it. It’s important to overcome because speaking is so connected to how we operate in business.
  • The Bible is clear that good communication is important and that we have to be mindful of how we speak. 
  • The first key to moving past glossophobia is understanding that there is an underlying fear, which for most people is the fear of being judged or ostracised and isolated. Once you acknowledge that underlying fear, you can cognitively remind yourself that fate is unlikely to happen because others empathize and are there intentionally to gain from you.
  • Because we fear judgment, we work hard to give a good impression and sound smart. But this often results in unnecessary jargon or length. Follow Steve Jobs’ advice and stay simple. More generally, just aim for clarity, which includes elements like vocal tone. Feedback can help because we’re often not objective enough to analyze what we’re doing well.
  • As you try to give a clear message, focus on the fact you are transferring your ideas to someone else and the fact you can have influence. Ask yourself how you want your message to change or improve others or the world so you see the talk as about that larger purpose instead of about you.
  • Practical tips to improve public speaking can include repetition, memorization, walking your venue, etc. 
  • Trauma can cause difficulty in public speaking, as shown with my experience in my music performance degree. The brain shuts you down if it perceives that you are unsafe, so even if you want to give the talk, you can be blocked from doing so. Getting past this problem often requires deeper inner work, typically through movement- or interpersonal-based therapies (e.g, yoga, singing in a choir) that help rebuild feelings of safety and calm in the nervous system.
  • It’s important not to minimize any trauma if you have experienced it. There is such a thing as complex trauma, which is small traumas that happen repeatedly over time. Even if you don’t think anything “big” happened, if the usual strategies don’t seem to help and you can’t get to a consistent level of performance, consider doing deeper work about yourself and your past.
  • Give yourself time to improve as a public speaker. Set small goals and look for the tiny gains along the way.



CTAs:

  • Pick at least one of the strategies mentioned in this episode to work on for your next public speaking opportunity. 
  • Do some reflection about your past to consider whether there are deeper hurdles that prevent you from being a better speaker.


What’s coming up next:

In the business world, emotional intelligence is massively buzzy. Is there a connection between this trend and the love God has called us to show in our service to Him? That’s in Episode 54 of Faithful on the Clock.


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