I remember saying this a lot. Though I wanted to try public speaking deep down, I was scared. I thought of myself as an introvert and therefore not “naturally” inclined to public speaking.
(This is not true though, introverts can be great public speakers)
But I was using this as an excuse to justify my behavior.
I am still not good with public speaking, but I am trying more now and to be honest I really feel much more comfortable with it than I did before.
In a few minutes I will tell you just what helped me.
There are many habits we need to cultivate.
For eg –
Getting up at dawn.
Going to the gym regularly.
Thinking in a more optimistic way.
Expressing more gratitude.
All of that.
Sometimes we are conditioned to behave in a way opposite to all of this. Maybe we expressed our gratitude for someone and that person was not responsive enough. This one experience (or maybe multiple in the similar manner) made us believe that there is no need to express gratitude.
We learnt that sometime in the past and now we are stuck with those habits and thinking patterns.
We are not sure how to break them.
The main thing that we are scared of is not to look like an idiot while doing something.
We don’t want to make a fool out of ourselves while trying new things, especially when our first experience was not so good.
When I wanted to try public speaking my thoughts went like –
These people are so cool! They know so much, they look so smart. They have done a lot of great work. Their lives are interesting and fun. Not mine! I don’t even know much of the stuff they are talking about. I am scared to ask, what will they think of me! I am cool enough for them. Even if I have a great idea to share, I know I am going to look like a fool in front of them. I don’t want to embarass myself. It’s better I don’t talk. But I do want to enjoy their company. I will stay passive. But it’s not so much fun…
Speaking in front of the group itself is a big challenge, but we are also worried about how we will perform, what will they think about us.
We want to try something for the first time and be our best in the first attempt. After some point I realised, this is not going to work.
I need to start somewhere. Even if I don’t look or sound smart, I need to be okay with it and just try. Keep trying.
Here’s what I did.
I told myself it’s okay to be scared of speaking in public. I accept how I feel. I also understand that I need to do something about it. I want to be more comfortable speaking in public, I really want to improve. And I need to let go of perfection at least for the first few times.
Instead of focusing on “how well I speak in public”, I focused on “I need to speak in public”.
After that I searched for opportunities not for perfect communication, but just for communication to happen.
I tried talking to new people and in groups without feeling the constant pressure to be perfect, but to just be.
Maybe we need to take it slow. The one thing that I have learnt from this is that perseverance is important. What you do once in a while with perfection is not as good as the little steps you take every day towards your goal.
Trying every day is important. The willingness to try makes all the difference than the willpower to do it once with perfection.
Search for little opportunities in your day to practice the habit that you want to cultivate.
And do the same thing again and again. One day after the other.
And I guarantee, you will soon develop the habits that you are so eager to have.