Our final fear trifecta post builds on the conclusions of the last two: 1) If we agree to stop trying to wrestle our nerves to the ground and 2) begin to dispute the irrational beliefs that undermine our own confidence, then what final ingredient can we add to this recipe to build a powerful and honest presentation? Stop thinking you can control the outcome.
The flip side of the fear that courses through our bodies in the face of public speaking is the not-so secret vision of the triumphant accolades showered upon us for our extraordinary speech. And of course we feel this way, it is important to believe that we have something worth saying or sharing. And of course we know that within each of us is a capacity to connect and move people. We want that! It is powerful. But this outcome is not within our control. What you are responsible for is entirely different than what you can control.
The number one way to manage nerves and build confidence is to practice and prepare. You are 100% responsible for this. You are responsible for respectfully understanding what your audience wants from your presentation. You are responsible for working hard to clarify your thinking, embracing simplicity, developing creative visuals and maintaining clear connection. You are responsible for ensuring that the technology works, the room set up makes sense, that you are dressed appropriately and comfortably. You are responsible for having any notes you need ready, along with your water, Chap Stick, and anything else that enhances your comfort. You are responsible for welcoming and listening to your audience. You are responsible for putting in all this work and after that, accepting that the outcome is out of your control.
Public speaking is ego busting. Great speakers embody humility in the most powerful way. Not the “oh gosh, who me?” falseness, but with firm openness. Letting go of an outcome is hard work, but it is liberation, a relief. It can help stop the paralyzing expectations and demands we put on ourselves. You work as hard as you can to be ready and then you accept whatever the outcome. If it is a glowing success, congratulations. If it is a swing and a miss, you know you did everything you could, and you are now responsible for learning and seeing what worked and what didn’t, and integrating that information into your next presentation. Committing to the process keeps you on course. This is the road map for empowered presentations.
Next: Commit to Confidence