Written by Desmore Samios – Public Speaking Coach, Host of The Desmore Chats With Podcast, Motivational Speaker. “There is a soulful storyteller within all of us waiting to inspire others.” Desmore
I remember my first time on a public stage. I was around 12 years old and chosen to participate in a stage performance. The thought of expressing myself on stage and participating in a production with like-minded dancers felt amazing! The energy whilst we were rehearsing in the hall was so incredible we were in flow and dancing our steps with optimism and enthusiasm.
Closer to the performance date we had our dress rehearsal and we performed on stage. As I approached the stage I had looked up at all the empty seats. I felt my enthusiasm overshadowed by fear and doubt, whilst thinking to myself “What if I missed a step and people started laughing at me?” once I entertained my fear and negative self-talk my healthy self-confidence had taken a dive. I remember thinking up all kinds of excuses as the day approached so I could safeguard myself from potential failure. However, I replaced my negative self-talk with “What if this could be the best performance ever?” and “What if we inspired the audience to feel good and uplifted in that moment?”. As I continued to look for the golden nuggets this performance could offer our audience I felt my fear taking a backseat. We had a wonderful team of dancers filled with radiant energy. The performance was a success with a standing applause.
What I had learnt about my first encounter with performing and speaking on a public stage of any kind is to trust my instincts. We all are born with our own unique expression; the issue becomes apparent when we try to become someone we think we should be in order to be a “perfect” version of ourselves. How often do we overthink our public speaking speeches after rehearsing our script at home or in front of our loved ones? How often do we become frazzled by the possibility that we might stuff up or make a fool of ourselves in front of others? Chances are you are overthinking the worst-case scenario and it hasn’t happened or might never happen at all for that matter. We invest and give so much airtime to what could go wrong instead of thinking about what can go right. We often sabotage our own public speaking success by not giving our authentic voices a fair go. Most importantly hiding behind our fear of failure and worrying about what others might think of us.
I want you to remember that you have something special to offer your colleagues, friends, industry peers and the world. Don’t let the fear of public speaking stop you from sharing your gifts and talents with others. Believe that you are enough and that your voice matters.