In the last blog in this series, we spoke about uncovering the “wound” from your past which led to your fear of public speaking or presenting. By now, you would have asked yourself relevant questions to pinpoint an incident, or incidents, when you were either humiliated, mocked, made fun of, or bullied, and thrust into the spotlight unwillingly.
But it’s not enough to see your wound in the open. You have to clean it to prevent further infection and pain. But how do you clean a speaking wound? You do it by learning to repurpose the pain and looking through the bad to find the good therein.
Again, you can ask yourself some important questions about your uncovered wound. Was your past speaking experience positive or negative? If it was positive, did it simply cover the pain, or provide relief? If it was negative, did you just push it down or let it infect you further?
If it was a bad experience, look for the silver lining. It might be difficult – you might be saying, “Mike, I was booed off the stage. How can I find anything good to come from it?” Well, now you know what not to do. We often learn by the elimination method. If you know one thing that led to past failure, you can strike it off the list on focus on the next thing that might lead to future success!
Think about whether you feel your negative experience defines you as a person. Are you generalizing? Does one bad experience in the past mean all your future experiences will go the same way? We humans are capable of extraordinary change – and you are no different. If you put in the effort and clean your wound, you can and will change how your next onstage speaking event goes.
Now, picture your current self in the audience. Imagine you’re watching yourself stutter and stumble onstage and crack jokes that none of the audience members laugh at. What would you say to your past self, talking as though it’s a close friend who’s come to you for support?
Take a deep breath and let go. Chances are, you’re feeling better. You have found the good in the bad. You have embraced the possibility of growth and change.
So uncover the wound. Don’t pretend it isn’t there. Go back to revisit and relive the embarrassment, shame, failure, and fear. Now, get in there and clean it out. Take out the bad and find the good.
As you uncover the wound to clean it out, you will watch the painful cut turn into a clean scab and, eventually, a cool scar.
If you want to learn the remaining six strategies to speak with no fear, grab a copy of my bestselling book on Amazon.
– Mike Acker
President of ADVANCE