How I got over my fear of public speaking

So this may come as a surprise to anyone who knows me from my adult life, but I was painfully shy all through primary school. I was definitely more confident in high school but I was starting from a really low base.

In fact, my lack of interest in talking when I was little saw my parents take me to see specialists to see if I had a learning disability. It turns out my intelligence was fine, I was just ridiculously shy. So naturally public speaking was always a little concerning for me while I was at school and even into the start of university.

And to this day so many people I coach still aren’t comfortable with public speaking. And given that most of my career has been spent doing public speaking and teaching fitness classes on the side, naturally a lot of people ask me what’s the secret to overcoming that fear.

What’s the secret? Present a lot!

Be up in front of people a lot. I always had a love of fitness and participated in many fitness classes so I figured what better way than to spend lots of time effectively “presenting” to people every week than to become a fitness instructor.

So at university I got qualified and taught about 7-10 classes a week which is a lot of practice at presenting. When teaching a class, I need to keep people moving all in the right direction, teach them how to get more out of the move to get a better workout, and to keep everyone safe, all at the same time. Some people respond to a visual cue, others need to hear it and others need to feel it. That’s a lot of information to get across in a short space of time in 3 different ways to appeal to 3 different learning styles. Sure it may look easy, but I dare you to try it!!

Now I’m not saying that becoming a fitness instructor is the only way to get better at presenting, but you do need to look for a way to present a lot. 

The key to success in presenting……

One of the main realisations I’ve had about presenting thanks to teaching classes is that the success of your class or presentation really isn’t about you! Hate to break it to you but your audience is busy, so if you don’t focus on the value they can get from you, you’ve lost them. And if you are too busy worrying about yourself and what they think of you, you’re not adding value to them.

Just focus on adding more value to them than they ever thought possible and the quality of your presentations will greatly improve.

If you’d like more help with improving your presentation skills through managing your mindset, please do get in touch.

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If you’d like to find out more, join the conversation in our next open workshop.

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