Question: What do overcoming the fear of speaking in public and holiday gift-giving have in common?
Answer: We use the same principles to give a speech or to give a gift!
We've just spent a lot of time thinking of the folks on our holiday gift list. We took into consideration their likes and dislikes and the financial limits we all agreed to observe. Then we tried to come up with something they'd appreciate that they didn't have before, that would make them feel we cared about them. And when they smiled and said, "Thanks, I love this, it's just what I need!", we knew really meant it.
This is a great technique for overcoming the fear of speaking in public.
If we break down the elements of our gift-giving technique, we find three simple principles:
a. We need to give something that has value to them.
b. We need to stay within a few mutually agreed upon rules.
c. We need to think about what they would like and would please them the most.
Question: What do all three of these principles have in common?
Answer: It's all about them!
The key to this technique is that when we're choosing what to give, we're not thinking about ourselves. When we're giving a gift, at holiday time or any time, we're asking ourselves, "W.I.I.F.T.? What's in it for them?"
When we get up to give a speech, the key to not being afraid is to use exactly the same principles:
a. The information we're giving them is valuable.
b. We're going to speak for an agreed upon amount of time in a format they can easily absorb in language they'll understand.
c. The talk we're giving is our gift to them. They want to leave the room knowing more than they did when they came in. It's what they came to get and they'll be extremely pleased to take it home with them.
Notice: In these three principles, there's no "I". We can't be thinking about ourselves at the same time that we're thinking about them.
If we're focused on giving the audience our gift, impressing on them the value of the information we're sharing and making sure they're getting what they came for, we don't have time to be afraid. There's no room to wonder if we're saying it right, if everyone agrees, if perhaps that guy in the third row thinks what we're saying is hogwash. We can't possibly be thinking about any of those things because our minds don't work that way.
Our brains are wired to think sequentially, one thought after another. We can't hold two opposing thoughts in the same moment. Thus if we're focusing all our attention on the audience, we can't possibly worry about making a mistake or forgetting something important. In other words, we can't be afraid because we're too busy giving the audience the gift they came for, focusing on knowledge they didn't know before they entered the room.
When we're focused on giving them the gift of our knowledge, we feel strong, confident, unique, sexy, and proud. We have nothing to fear. Our job is to give them our gift. When we do our job, the fear disappears.