How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking
 – Don’t Picture the Audience Naked

So -- how do you get over the fear of public speaking?

The only advice friends will give you when you have to speak in front of an audience is to imagine the audience naked.  To me, that seems like terrible advice.  (Any time I’m in front of naked people, the last thing I want to do is to talk.)  Instead, it would be better advice to tell you to try to understand the source of the problem.

Fear sometimes arises as your internal negative voices turn up the volume when you try to do something out of the ordinary.  When you step outside of your “comfort zone,” fear pops up and tries to convince you to keep safe by avoiding risks.  But since success usually involves risk taking, overcoming fear is a necessity to move ahead in a highly competitive business world.

Fear itself isn’t the problem.  It’s the way you deal with it – or don’t deal with it -- that is the problem.  You might not even be aware how often actions and decisions are solely based on fear.  For instance, you might not go to a party because you’re frightened to go alone, but you tell yourself, “I’m too tired, I have a big day tomorrow.”
This type of unexpressed fear could be slowing your career advancement. You might be avoiding expressing your ideas – both in speeches and in general -- because you feel uncomfortable about the possibility of failure.  But instead of facing that fear, you tell yourself, “I can just send this out in a memo” or  “I’ll keep this to myself – why rock the boat?” or  “I’ll write my speech later; Housewives is on...”

When you experience the fear of speaking in public -- remember that brave people are not unafraid. What distinguishes them is that they act despite the fear. You can overcome stage fright.