Life

How I Overcome My Fear Of Public Speaking & Actually Enjoy It


It was full of excitement. I was on fire. The audience was focusing on me.

That sensation caught me in the middle of my talking session few days ago on Dreamcatcher Summit.

Wow! I just couldn’t believe that.

I’m not exaggerating, that’s how I actually feel.

Remembering that 3 days before the event, I still get stressed and feared because I didn’t know what I’m going to say.

Moreover, before Dreamcatcher Summit, I have another session to talk about Creative Thinking in Radio Kampus ITB. It was like 2 big events in 1 day.

Honestly, I was overwhelmed. I’m not an expert at public speaking. I’m also an introvert, so talking in front of people is not my best things.

How It All Begin

It started a week before, Daniel Yeoda (my good friend who also the committee of Dreamcatcher Summit) and I have a conversation about the event. He asked Metagraf to be the media partner of the event.

For your information, Dreamcatcher Summit is an event organized by AIESEC Bandung that focusing on helping people to discover their passion.

Because I personally interested in that event, I agreed. In exchange, I simply asked to get a free ticket to join the event.

On the next day, he said that he cannot give me a ticket.

I was kinda upset at first. But it’s actually okay, I only wanted to help him anyway.

And then, Yeoda suddenly chat me “Gilang, can you answer my call?”

He told me this, “Unfortunately we cannot give you a free ticket to the event, but after I talked to the board member, we gladly invite you to be one of the speakers. Can you do that?”

Whoaa! I’m shocked!

He said that I can think about it first.

Well, it’s an opportunity for me to share my story in front of others. I want to bring value to others. But…

I fear…

What if I messed up? What if I fail and suddenly passed out? What if this? What if that? What if…

Damn it brain!

Crush it. I will do it. I will tell to the world my story.

How I Actually Overcome My Fear

Honestly, I feel the most intense fear 3 days before the event. I cannot think straight. I feel anxious all day.

It’s like my mind is going to burst because I cannot stop thinking about it.

I started to feel doubt about myself.

But after all, I managed to do it.

So, here are some tips from me if you have a public speaking session and you feel the same:

1. Make A List of The Worst Thing That Could Possibly Happen

I really am doing that. I have a note with all 22 ways on how I could mess up the talks. It goes like this:

1. Presentation file corrupted.
2. Cannot open the video file.
3. The projector didn’t work.
4. The sound system didn’t work.
5. I suddenly blank and forgot everything.
6. I cannot answer someone’s question.
7. Some kind of accident happened to me before the event.
8. There are more people than I imagined.
9. I am late to go to the event.
10. I speak too fast.
11. The audiences did not understand what I am saying.
12. I forget to deliver some of the material.
13. My clothes are uncomfortable.
14. My audiences boring with my talks.
15. No one answer the question I asked.
16. I speak too slow.
17. My voice is cracking.
18. Too many “Mmm”.
19. Too many silence moment.
20. I am passed out in the middle of talking (I wrote this for sure)
21. My self-doubt strikes again.
22. My voice & expression are too flat.

Why did I do it?

Because when one of those things actually happens, I will be prepared. At least, I already anticipated it in my mind. So, I won’t be shocked and getting a panic attack.

2. There Will Be a Problem That You Don’t Expect

I was told that I will speak on Journalism Class with Mr. Muhammad Farhan (senior TV presenter, an expert in journalism).

My session is only about 30 minutes. 5 minutes introduction, 15 minutes Q&A from moderator & 10 minutes Q&A with audiences.

They said that I can talk more about Creative Writing and Mr. Farhan will talk more about the journalism itself.

Well okay, it is an honor for me to talk on the same stage with him.

But actually…

When I get to the venue, they said to me that Mr. Farhan cannot come and I have to talk for 90 minutes.

What? What should I say for 90 minutes? I’m not expecting that at all.

Here’s come the next tips.

3. Come Way Earlier Than Your Audiences

I am glad that I come 2 hours early before my talking session. I could prepare myself. I talked to the moderator and actually brainstorm on what we are going to talk about.

I’m also grateful that the moderator is a professional. He assists me through the whole session. Huge thanks to you, Teddy!

Believe me, if you have an important public speaking session, come as early as possible. Because you cannot expect the best to always be on your side. Always expect the unexpected and you will ready when it comes.

When the unexpected thing happens, remember this:

You are there to deliver a value to your audiences. Not to show off yourself. Give them as much value as possible and you will be okay.

4. Stop, Take a Breath, and Feel The Moment

Even when I am already prepared and ready to deliver my talks, I still feel nervous.

The first minutes feel so weird, but I just keep talking. Then I started to ask the audiences about their expectation. Some of them answer that question.

While they are sharing their opinion, I stopped talking. I took a deep breath for a while and enjoy the sensation on myself.

I started to get the flow. I realized that this is the moment I’ve been waiting for. It suddenly felt like there is some mysterious energy overflowing me.

All my worries and fears are gone.

It was fantastic. I was on fire. I took control of the stage.

I started to enjoy the talk.

Yes, I did it. It felt so unreal.

I also learned a lesson:

All the fears, the worries, the anxieties are only in your head. It’s not really there when you are focusing on the moment and enjoy it.

Conclusion

If you have a public speaking event coming, either it’s a seminar, a discussion, a class, a conference, or anything, prepare yourself for the worst. Expect the unexpected. Because it will happen eventually. And it is okay.

Don’t forget to take a breath and enjoy the moment you talk. All your worries and fears are only in your head. Focus on the value you are giving to your audiences and you will be okay. Good Luck!

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