The Myth of "Just Do More Talks"

The Myth of "Just Do More Talks"

One of the pieces of advice that I got told so many times over the years is that if I wanted to get over my speaking anxiety, I just needed to do more talks.

That the more you do it, the easier it gets and that you just need to make that first jump.

To be honest, in recent years I’ve been guilty of giving this advice as well, cause it’s an easy shortcut to suggest. But it dismisses and forgets that the anxiety and fear is real. Ignoring it can lead to a bad experience discouraging people from wanting to do more.

Jumping in the pool's deep end will motivate some people to swim, but some of us will struggle to stay afloat.

I’ve done presentations where I wasn’t fully prepared, where various things went wrong (in one case I froze up and forgot to say half of my talk) and I only felt more horrible afterwards. I felt even less motivated to do talks in the future.

Just jumping in and doing it was not the answer for me.

What helped me, was understanding the different fears I had, and how to tackle them individually.

What helped me was knowing how my body reacts under stress, how my anxiety shows up and how I can calm myself down in the moment.

What helped me was being fully prepared for what could go wrong, and having backup plans.

It does get easier the more you do it over time. But you can be prepared for that first jump, you don’t need to go through a horrible experience to become a good speaker.

You can practice, reflect and prepare to get yourself in a better mindset to give a talk. You can build up your experience in different ways without the anxiety. You can expose yourself to new situations in a way that works for you.

That first jump into the deep end of the pool? You can do that with some help, and a friendly face holding your hand to jump with you together.

Do you need help to get started? I provide 1:1 coaching sessions and team workshops about brainstorming talk ideas, CFP writing and creating talks. Reach out to me to discuss what you're looking for.