In our last post, we discussed how to Starve Your Fear of Public Speaking. I’m sure as you got to the end of the post you were asking yourself a few questions and trying to talk yourself out of starving your fear.
Public Speaking Questions About Starving Your Fear
We will address those questions now.
“But what if they say nothing?”
You’ll be happy to know, this rarely happens. But if it does, choose to assume they are as shy as you, and concentrate on putting them at ease by asking a second question they will find it easy to answer.
It doesn’t matter if it isn’t the most original question in the world, just as long as it is one they can easily answer without thinking. (Even something like “it’s awfully cold for July, don’t you think?” can help really shy people stop feeling as if they’ve been put on the spot and give them those extra few seconds to come up with a comment.)
“Can I think up secondary questions in advance?”
Yes, of course –make this a quick exercise. Don’t agonize over it and don’t spend too much time thinking up the “best” questions.
If you do, you may end up assigning too much importance to these questions – and miss your opportunity to make contact. Tension may creep in if you focus on getting them “right”. It then
Tension may creep in if you focus on getting them “right”. It then becomes yet another procrastination technique.
Make a game out of coming up with other questions you could ask someone you want to approach. Give yourself thirty seconds, or concentrate on the silliest questions you could ask, or limit yourself to three questions.
And vary the “game” every time. Realize you don’t have to be a perfectionist (another trait that often sabotages those afraid of public speaking!) It’s not life or death if you ask a less-than-original question.
“What if the person I approach is actually mean?”
This does happen once in a blue moon. If someone snaps at you or snubs you, or your timing is off, you won’t feel happy. You’ll feel anything from mildly embarrassed to absolutely crushed.
It is important to remember that any transaction involves two people. You cannot control the other person. You can only control yourself.
It is also important not to internalize their reaction with negative messages (especially when you play “old tapes” and say negative, down-putting things to yourself). Realize that in reality, their mean response says everything about that person – and nothing about you.
A person’s meanness has nothing to do with you at all. Perhaps she was angry at her husband for something he just did (or didn’t do). Perhaps she suffers from PTSD or other condition. Perhaps she has a headache or got dragged to the event when she really didn’t want to attend.
Or maybe she’s just a mean, nasty person. Whatever the reason it is her issue and not yours.
Build Your Confidence
Shrug her response off. Change your usual beating-up-self message to a more realistic and less emotional one: When you catch yourself starting a “poor me” internal comment like “people always dump on me”, change it to “my, that lady is having a bad day!”
And move on to the next person, before you can tense up.
If you simply take action and move on you have actively begun the process of starving the fear.
If you focus on putting the other person at ease… then congratulations, you are starving the fear!
Plus, you will be feeding your confidence while creating new, healthy neural pathways to replace those old negative ones.
Do you have other public speaking questions about starving your fear? Please submit them in the comments below. We will answer them in future posts.