Overcoming fear of failure in public speaking

Public speaking tips tick

I’m currently sat near Heathrow airport watching the planes come in over ahead. I’m estimating it’s one every 45 seconds, if not more.

As a person who hates flying (and loves a bit of drama too) there’s a small part of me that hopes that one of the planes I’ve been watching for the past hour has some sort of difficulty, perhaps a dangerous landing or a bit of a skid.

But overall, I’m extremely glad when each plane lands safely, for the passengers, for my own confidence in air travel and for the fact that I know if I witnessed an air tragedy it would haunt me forever.

Many speakers suffer from nerves because they imagine themselves forgetting their lines, giving a bad performance and their audience laughing or jeering them.

They believe that their audience will actually delight in the tragedy of them failing – that they want to witness a ‘car crash’ of a performance.

These are the speakers that must remember that their audience wants them to succeed and wants them to give a good performance because they want to hear a powerful speaker.

Much like me watching planes, each successful landing or speech is exactly what your audience wants.

REMEMBER – Overall, your audience would be more disappointed if they arrived to hear you speak, only to witness you fail and have left the room no wiser, no better informed or no more inspired.

Remember, your audience is on your side and wants you to make a safe landing – perhaps even more for their own personal benefit than yours!

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Rich Watts is the UK Business Speaker of the Year and a past JCI National Public Speaking champion. He setup and now runs Rich Public Speaking providing presentation skills and public speaking training.

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