Have you ever been asked to speak in front of your colleagues and secretly hoped you’d be hit by a car on the way to work because you’re so terrified of humiliating yourself???
Extreme example I know, but it’s what one of our executive students told us when he was part of our “Stand Up For Yourself” workshop series.
It’s a radical and transformational program where leaders are asked to perform a 5 minute stand up comedy routine, about their own lives in front of a live audience!
The goal is to overcome any fears they may have around public speaking and discover that they are FAR more capable than they ever knew.
His name was Sam and he told us that ‘death seemed like a more appealing option than embarrassing himself on stage!’ He didn’t by the way (die OR embarrass himself on stage!).
In fact, every person in the program delivered an impactful comedy routine and surprised themselves by their ability to hold the audience in the palm of their hand and be FUNNY!
One of the executives found it difficult to stand up and speak if there were more than 3 people in the room and yet, he delivered the best routine of all and could have gone on the comedy circuit as a professional.
The best part? Sam enjoyed the experience and he woke up the next day asking himself what else he was capable of… what else he’d been telling himself he couldn’t do???
So, today I have a simple yet profound technique to help you deliver an impactful and life enhancing talk/speech/presentation/proposal or stand up routine…
The beautiful thing about this technique is that it’ll help you to avoid the usual nerves or anxieties often associated with standing in front of an audience, even if it’s an audience of one!
And here it is… IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU!
You’re job as an inspirational speaker is to… well… inspire, right? To stimulate your audience and encourage them to take some positive action in their work or lives.
That’s it… simples!
However, we all know how sphincter tightening it can be to present a new idea or concept in front of people who may or may not be interested in what we have to say and we can ‘what if’ ourselves into a traumatized state.
What if I can’t remember my next slide? What if they hate my message? What if I look like an idiot? What if I forget to wear pants?!
(that was an awkward day on the bus, let me tell you!) 😉
So you can perform at your best, just embrace this simple approach and shift your focus from worrying about yourself and your performance to ensuring your message is clear and a little bit life changing for your audience.
Why? Because… IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU!
In fact, Eckhart Tolle once said this provocative statement: ‘nervousness is selfishness!’
A comment like that can seem harsh but what he means is, if you’re scared that you might humiliate yourself, forget your content or flow or whether your audience will like or ‘get’ you and your message… then you’re worrying about yourself and here’s the thing –
Worry is misery without a result.
Worry is a pointless and draining emotional state that can lead to depression and even worse… a lack of risk taking! However, worry has very little practical value in our lives.
If you’re worried about yourself and how you’ll be received, then you’re not thinking about the people you are there to inspire. Nuff said.
Yes, you may be using your stories, ideas, content, and data to share new and potentially profound concepts but everything that comes out of your mouth HAS to be for the benefit of the people you’re sharing it with.
And this is great news because it takes the pressure off you!
Now, you are there to change lives by sharing insights that help your audience to DO something different, THINK something different and FEEL something different from when you started.
To get you into the right frame of mind, answer these simple questions before you begin crafting your message:
- Why am I here to talk?
- What do I want my audience to do, think or feel?
- Why is it important that they understand this message?
- How will it enhance their work or lives?
- What would I like them to do with this information?
- How could it make them happier and the world a better place?
It’s. Not. About. You.
How awesome is that?! Now you can just share your message in the most interesting and dynamic way by thinking of THEM… first.
Who knows? Your message could be the very one that helps them to embrace a new way of working or living. Maybe it’ll bring a little more light or clarity to an area that they have felt stuck in? Or maybe your stories will give them permission to make a bold decision or improve their work, health or relationships?