Is your fear of speaking really a fear of rejection? That's at the bottom of public speaking anxiety for a lot of people. The way to deal with this fear is to first take a closer look. What are you afraid might be rejected? Your words?
Rejection Of Your Words
Here are a few facts to consider:
- Fact A: Your words only count for 7% of the actual message that you deliver. 7%! Can you believe it? The biggest part of your message is conveyed through your body language, facial expression and tone of voice. So that seriously takes the pressure off your words, doesn't it? When you're speaking - whether that's to a client or a big audience - your intention is to connect with them, isn't it? That's what communication is all about. And people connect at the heart. That's where those nonverbal elements come into play. They're watching your eyes. They're looking to see if you're paying attention to them. They want the feeling that you care about them and their problem.
- Fact B: They want to feel positive emotions from hearing you - relief, hope, peace of mind. That experience does not come from your words.
We've all heard words that sound empty, where the emotion doesn't match the actual words. Picture an eye-rolling teenager saying "I'm sorry" to a scolding teacher. The words aren't conveying their real meaning, are they? See how this reduces the pressure for you to get your words perfect? If your fear of rejection is about words, I hope your fear is shrinking.
On the positive side of things, think of the people you enjoy doing business with. They're just regular people, right? Just like you.
Now think of their speaking styles. Do they all have perfect grammar? Are they all fabulous speech writers and award-winning orators? Is their language completely clear of "uh" and "y'know"? Of course not!
And yours doesn't have to be either. For now, stop worrying about your words and focus on relaxing so your voice, face and body can react naturally. That's what helps you connect to people so you can really get your message across.
Once you get some practice speaking naturally, you'll find it much easier to work with improving your actual words if you want to. It's ironic that once you let go of the fear about the words, your options for words open up. Your creative ability and willingness to experiment with new phrases totally expands once your speaking anxiety is gone.
From the desk of Janet Hilts MPH, EFT-ADV
Copyright © 2010 Janet Hilts, Speak Up & Shine | Clearing Pathways, Inc.