February 1st, 2015
If you have similar adventures with your mind, here are some key mindset shifts that will get under that nasty (but well-meaning) voice and get you speaking up and out with comfort and grace next time you find yourself in front of a group.
When I first started speaking and performing, it was all about getting love. All I wanted was for people to say “You are amazing. You are brilliant. I am in love with you. Will you marry me?”
It was as if the moment I finished my talk I inhaled, and I couldn’t exhale until someone said “That was amazing.”
If no one told me I was amazing, then I would curl up in a ball in the bathroom and shiver and shake and sob and vow never to get on stage and speak ever again.
OK that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but sometimes it felt that bad.
So please allow me to give you a head start:
You are amazing. You are already amazing.
Really. It’s not.
I know. I know. You probably know this already in your head. But as we all know, it can be a long way from the head to the heart and the body.
When all you want is for people to love you, it’s hard to think much about the audience.
But it’s for real. It’s not about you. It’s about the audience and what you have to GIVE to them.
So if you’re thinking “I better do a stellar job so people think I’m awesome” how ’bout reframing that and answer these questions instead:
What impact do you want to have? What gift do you have to give? What do you want the audience to do differently after they’ve heard you talk? How can you make a real connection with your audience? How can you speak from a place of really listening?
I guarantee that if you turn your attention to your audience, your talk will be 100 times more kick-ass than if you don’t.
When I first started speaking I felt like a BIG FAT FAKE.
I was waaaay out of my comfort zone and my inner critic had a hayday: Who do you think you are? What could you possibly say that these people don’t already know? What if you let them down? What if they roll their eyes in disdain? Why in the world did they invite me to speak? They have no idea what a horrible mistake they’ve made. I’m about to humiliate myself BIG TIME.
Although I’d been on stages a lot as a theater performer, the first time I gave a talk wearing my Public Speaking Coach hat, I introduced myself to the host and then promptly found my way to the bathroom where I hung my head over the toilet waiting to vomit because that’s how fiercely the fake-factor was racing through my body.
I would have rather stayed there and “called in sick” than get found out.
But I didn’t. I gave the talk. I survived.
I’m all about speaking what you know, and not what you heard someone else talk about once, or what you read on the internet for the first time this morning, but a big part of the fake-factor is just your mind doing nasty tricks on you.
It IS uncomfortable to go out of your comfort zone. (and exciting and invigorating!) But when you stretch outside of it, it actually makes it bigger, and those mean “You’re such a fake!” voices can take a back seat to your expertise.
It’s yours. Own it. Be the expert you are and share it with the world.
If you want them, you will have many opportunities to deliver The Talk Of Your Life. This isn’t the only talk you’ll ever give.
This is one place where members of my Women Who Speak program get hung up a lot. Because for many of them it’s their first talk, they get stuck thinking “I have to make this THE TALK OF MY LIFE. This has to be THE BEST TALK EVER. This has to capture the essence of EVERYTHING I’VE EVER WANTED TO SAY.”
But remember, this is ONE talk. Trust that there will be many more. Each one is super important, and each one is one of many.
The more talks you give, the less precious they will become, and the more room you’ll have to make big fat mistakes, and the more willing you’ll be to take even bigger risks.
So inhale, exhale, you got this.
What works for you? What mindset shifts have you used to get more of your genius out there on stage? Leave yours in the comments below.