Overcoming the fear of speaking to groups

I was recently on the largest late-night talk show in America where there was between 3-5 million listeners to the show. As I was listening to the host review the news of the day to start the show, I held my phone up to my ear waiting to go live. The difference between giving a speech to an audience and doing this radio show is when you give a prepared speech you can write it down and practice. On the radio show, I have no idea what the host will ask, and when they do the ‘call-in’ segment I have no idea of what the listeners will ask.  I certainly was a bit nervous, but I keep telling myself I can only know what I know, and my best performance will be if I’m under control.   I prepared for the show by telling myself many times I know my material and the people are listening because they want to hear my thoughts.  So, what’s there to be scared about?   By simply listening to what the host or listeners ask, my brain had no fearful interference and my best came out. The same will hold true for any situation when we have to speak in important situations. It might be with just another person, like in a job interview, in a meeting to a small group, or when we have to get up in front of a large audience. The key to remember is at the moment of truth, you know what you know and the people there are there to hear you! What you want is to let it come out in a way that transfers your message to your audience. Being in control of your state of mind is essential for that to happen. All the preparation in the world won’t save us if we can’t conquer our fears.  Thankfully, reminding yourself you know what you’re talking about and the people are there because they want to hear you; not judge you, will go a long way in overcoming the fears we all feel when it’s our time to perform!

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