The first thing to do to speak without fear is your willingness to try. Forget about all the lies about your failure the devil whispers in your mind. Instead, be ready to make a fool of yourself on stage.
Well, that is what you really fear; isn’t it?
“What if I make a mistake?”
“What will people think about me?”
“What if I my mind goes blank on stage?”
Let me tell you the truth point blank:
One, you will make mistakes; I don’t know anyone who does not make them on stage; at least once in a while. I know I do.
Two, people will say good things to you like, “You speech was wonderful.” The best thing to do is not to believe it. For it doesn’t mean anything. And probably they have no more knowledge of the craft of speech than you do.
Three, people have too many things to think about already–the bills they have to pay, how to manage their bad boss at office, and the studies of their children that worry them. Do you think they have time to think about your speech and all its faults? I doubt.
Of course, you will feel humiliated when you make mistakes. For we are made of flesh and blood and emotions and mood swings; aren’t we? So, what’s the big deal? Your failure on stage proved you to be a human being. That’s all to it; and nothing more.
Now how to handle criticism levelled against you. It definitely hurts. Why? Because we have strong egos. Now what does than mean? It is the thinking that I am right (always), and I simply can’t be wrong.
Now think about it this way. It doesn’t matter how good or bad your speech was. Think about improving on it. Be dissatisfied with your best efforts. Then you will be able to see criticism helping you on the road to excellence than tearing you apart.
Finally, let me tell you the secret of success I have personally known and experienced in speaking. To me, it has always been the fact of God’s love to me displayed on the Cross of Calvary where Jesus shed his blood and died. That has always helped me rise up from defeats, and failures, and mistakes.
The identity of being loved and accepted by God in spite of all my shortcomings has given me courage again and again to try. It has also taught me that failures are integral to the process of becoming good. It teaches you more about humility than anything else.
So face your fears honestly. But don’t make it an excuse to run away from speaking situations. Volunteer to speak. Fail. Fail again and again. The time will come when it will be difficult for you to not to succeed. And still if you fail, let it be so. But tomorrow you will try again; won’t you!
Jesus Christ of Nazareth