If you ask me what is that people fear the most about public speaking ; I can answer in one word: Mistakes! I can see you nod your head in agreement. I have learned that mistakes will come no matter how talented you are or how best prepared you are. It is just the way we human beings are.
If you ask me again, what is that people fear about public speaking, I can answer again in one word: Criticism! This is tougher still. What will others think about me? Well, what can you do about that; absolutely nothing. People might smile at you and say nasty things behind your back. Well, why should you lose my sleep over that which you have no control over at all.
Now, what if your mind goes blank? And thus make yourself a fool on stage! So what; my dear? Many great speakers began this way; and there is nothing to be ashamed about that. The brain sometimes makes its presence known by such tricks that it plays. Don’t worry; your mind will back you up with better speeches in the days ahead.
But then you might battle with feelings of inferiority—the feeling that others are better and you are not good enough. My friend, the truth is that God created you unique and you can speak on stage with that strong conviction in your heart. Shortcomings can blaze with God’s glory if you allow him to do it for you.
What if your speech is boring? Well you don’t become an interesting speaker the Day 1 you speak. It happens over time. The key is to understand people. Ask yourself what their fears, needs, and dreams are? You need to learn to speak not just logic but also with feeling and emotions. Simply be yourself and touch on life and life experiences while you talk.
Above all; create memorie. Not just speeches. If one person smiles because of what you said; if one person is inspired to hold on for one more day and not give up saying “I quit” ; if one person comes up to you years later and says that the words you spoke made a lasting impact on his or her life; then that is what is the true stuff speeches should be made of.
Let me close with one final word. Some golden rules are never meant to be violated. Keep it short and simple is one such. And when you are in doubt about something you feel like speaking; it is always better to leave it out.
Of course, you can glide in or halt with tires screeching or get people ready to act while you end. And remember, if you attempted to speak; if you gave your best; then even if you failed—it is triumph!
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