Busting Public Speaking Myths

Busting Public Speaking Myths

I hear all sorts of excuses about public speaking, that’s all they are though: excuses and exit strategies for getting out of something new and challenging.

If you continuously avoid new and challenging things, you can’t grow. You’ll be stuck in your small, little world, doing small, little things. The more you push your comfort boundaries and overcome your fears the faster it becomes for your brain to build pathways of learning and growth that you can use the next time you face something new. Playing small and living to your fears and believing in all those excuses is a dangerous combination, but one that is easily overcome just by recognising the excuses you are using and seeing they are rubbish.

It comes to the BS you are telling yourself every day – just to be clear BS stands for Belief Systems. From birth onwards we are each creating, fine-tuning and reinforcing internal beliefs about who we are and what we are capable of. These beliefs can either propel us forward in life, or they can hold us back.

An excuse is a pretty good indication you are holding onto a limiting belief that is holding you back in your life.

Public speaking opportunities are a really great place to see people’s internal belief systems on show.

There are pretty much six common beliefs I see most often to avoid public speaking and usually the heart of the matter is self-confidence. 

So there are two big questions here:

  1. What are people telling themselves internally that is limiting their self-confidence and convincing them they need to sit this one out?
  2. What can they say instead for self-empowerment and inspiration that will allow them to share their message and change people’s lives?

The really great thing about belief systems is really, as soon as you become aware of them, you can pretty much bust them instantly because, usually, they make no sense. 

So we are carrying these absurd beliefs around in our head and just agreeing with them all on a deep subconscious level, because we trust that part of our brain to look after us and protect us from harm. When we can see how completely illogical these beliefs can be, it’s easy just to laugh it off and power forward. If you do still need some help busting super convincing beliefs, my belief buster medication can convince your brain that there is a positive point of view to help give you access to the positive changes you want to make in your life.

What are the big limiting beliefs people use to get out of public speaking?

Here are the six big excuses I hear that you can get over to help you take the stage and share your message with a bigger audience. And, usually these play out in other areas of your life as well, it’s just more noticeable for public speaking because it seems like a threatening situation. If you find any of these six impacts your ability to speak in public, also think about how this belief might be affecting other areas of your life outside public speaking (i.e. dating, career, money management and lifestyle choices).

  • Nobody is interested in what I have to say

Nobody? Really? When I present and someone raises their hand and asks a question, the answer I give will help 30% of the room. That’s a random question from a random audience member and it will connect to 30% of other people. These are all perfect strangers who have come together for a weekend or one week and yet, this one question will impact them and assist them in their life. 

We are all experiencing the same difficulties and emotions in one way or another. We are all striving to find support and connection.

Find proof that you are amazing – there’s plenty of it when you go looking:

  • Times when you succeeded
  • Times you felt great and full of confidence
  • Times you felt calm and in control of a situation
  • Times when you were a winner

Reminding yourself of these and just how incredible it felt is a great way to prove to yourself how capable you are and how you have survived and thrived multiple times in the past.

When you talk someone will connect with something you say. The biggest advice I can give around here is to be absolutely genuine about what you have to say, these genuine connections are going to resonate the most and have the biggest meaning with your audience so forget about pretending to be interesting and stick with who you are.

  • I am too young/too old

This was a really big point for me when I started out. I was 17 and had my first public speaking event and was so afraid of being so young and not being taken seriously. Everyone working in NLP and mindset technology was significantly older than me, we had all done years of the exact same training, so I had their level of skill and ability, but because I started the training courses when I was 12, I was young, and I looked it. 

And because this was something I was so focused on – and my biggest nightmare was being pulled up on it, guess what? That’s exactly what happened. Some guy stood up, in the middle of my presentation and said, “How old are you? Shouldn’t you be in school” And it shook me up. I was terrified of going back and doing this again. It had nothing to do with my age, it was about that self-belief system that was crippling my self-esteem.

You need to have the inner self-confidence that you know what you have is genuine and helpful because if you’re not worried about it, no one else will, or you won’t care, either way, your presentation will go well because you believe in yourself.

I’ve had teenagers ace my Live It Now course. People love seeing younger people give things a go. My youngest public speaking course Influence Now student was 15 and my oldest was 71. It makes no difference. What I teach in these courses is mindset and how to prepare your mind, bust those limiting beliefs and step up to do your best no matter what.

You have something to give people through who you are and what your perspective is, you don’t need to fit a certain type or age or shape to achieve that.

  •  I’m too self-conscious

Being up in front of people is a daunting experience. We don’t have many experiences (especially positive ones) where everyone’s eyes are on us, watching every move we make. 

Think about it though, isn’t that what you want? It would feel even more upsetting if no one was paying attention, if they were typing on their phone or listening to music – that would mean you’re not engaging them. You really want their eye on you so you know you have their attention. Turning this one around is just a matter of mindset in moving it from a threat to a reward. That’s the beauty of NLP, we can master these exact changes in only five minutes and start a new pathway internally that sends messages that this is positive, wanted and reading results.

Let’s also consider why you are feeling self-conscious, is it because you feel that you are not important enough to warrant this attention?

Einstein’s theory of relativity means we are all equally important in relation to each other. No one who is important would still be important if everyone else was gone. In order to be important, the ‘non-important’ people need to exist, therefore making them essential, and important.

In terms of your presentation your audience are only there in order to hear speakers, making the speaker important, however, without the audience you have no one to speak to, making the audience super important. Putting this in balance means you can relax about who is the expert, who is in charge and what happens next. Everyone relies and depends on everyone else to make this happen. This is an even bigger incentive to include the audience and get them involved and actively participating in your presentation through questions, demonstrations and feedback.

They need you, you need them, this is a win-win situation.

  • I’m not experienced enough

Ah, yes, impostor syndrome. The fear that someone who knows more will call you out, and humiliate you and show how little you know.

Let’s start by checking in on what you are presenting and why you are presenting this information. If you are talking about something you’re passionate about, something you believe in and something that can help others, you have every right to be up there and talking about it.

Back yourself by talking about your experiences and why this is important to you and how you see this as making a difference, no one can argue with that.

You will gain experience every time you do something new and press forward. Experience is gained from taking action. You can plan experience on paper, it needs to be lived and experienced. If you are always sitting in the audience, you are never going to gain experience as a presenter. If you are always the employee, you are never going to grow the experience you need to be a CEO. There is no “right time” to take the stage- now, yesterday even, is the best time to get started. Every day you delay is a day you miss out on experience and expertise in what it’s all about.

The faster you start gaining experience through doing, the quicker you will become an expert at what you do.

Make a mess, figure it out on the way and you will not only grow, but you will grow rapidly and in no time, you will be the expert you currently wish you can be.

  • I don’t have a story to tell

Good storytelling is something you learn. How to use your voice, your tone, where you pause and how long for, what your position is on the stage, all these things are something you need to be taught. 

Presenting to a group or audience is significantly different to how you would conduct a one-to-one conversation so you probably won’t have had any practice with blocking, annunciating, projecting your voice. It will feel strange to begin with but with the right help and advice, you can set up a strategy that you can master and repeat no matter the information you are giving. It’s a pattern that you can practice. Practice in front of the mirror, practice on video, practice in front of friends.

  • Make eye contact
  • Involve your audience
  • Move on stage
  • Change your volume
  • Pause and lead them in
  • Care about what you have to say

You can create poise, drama, excitement and empathy for any story you tell by creating atmosphere through being present on stage.

  • I’m not funny/outgoing/charismatic

Labels. Labels are beliefs you wear every day about yourself. Here’s the thing; when you tell yourself this, it becomes true. You won’t allow yourself to be anything other than what’s already inside your labels.

What kind of labels do you put on in the morning?

  • I’m not funny
  • I’m not smart
  • I’m not focused
  • I’m not disciplined

Change the label and you change how you interact with the world.

Keep in mind too that you don’t need to be funny to be a great presenter. It depends on what you are talking about and who your audience is. Funny is not a must-have element in your storytelling.

Rather than focusing on what you can’t do, or who you are not which hurts your self-confidence, motivation my Influence Now course teaches you how to step into the mindset of who you do want to be and how you want to perform to give you powerful and motivating labels to get your message heard and to influence your audience to take action and change something.

Getting to see your limiting beliefs driving your excuses helps you to stop living to them and start leaving them behind. Your confidence increases so your presentations have more power to be inspiring.

If you would like help busting through some of your belief systems, my free book ‘Scared of Public Speaking?’ will help you overcome your fears and take the stage with confidence! Just enter your details below, and I’ll deliver it straight to your inbox.

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