Why You Should Just Forget About Public Speaking

Admit it - you kind of wish you were a better speaker.

You’ve heard someone who blew you away with their poise and eloquence. You thought, “wow, I wish I could do that.” You dreamed about all the clients you could bring in by speaking to large groups, or the charity you could finally launch if you had the confidence to share your message.

But then you thought, “no. I could never do that. It’s way too scary. Too difficult. People like me don’t do things like that.”

Well, you’re right.

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I mean, it’s true that every great speaker had to start somewhere. Some of them had to overcome serious obstacles, and some still deal with those obstacles every day. James Earl Jones was challenged by stuttering. Legendary singer Adele gets such severe stage fright that she once snuck out a fire escape before a show in Amsterdam. Sam Fuentes, a survivor of the Parkland school shooting, vomited during a speech on national television - and then kept on going.

And sure, you’ve learned how to do plenty of things, from driving a standard to doing web design to managing employees to sneaking vegetables into your toddler’s food.

But that’s different. Public speaking is uniquely difficult. It’s only for the naturally fearless or the incredibly talented, plus some weirdo named Alex Keenan who insists on doing it even though she’s neither of those things.

Besides, even if you did decide to learn, how would you go about it? Learning by doing? No, thank you. Tried that. It was the worst. Zero stars. Of course, you could try practicing a bunch before stepping on stage, but that feels awkward. What if your spouse walked in on you talking to yourself in the living room? How would you deal with the embarrassment?

Then once you’re on stage, the danger level is high. People might judge you for your umms and ahhs and the way you pace back and forth when you get nervous. You might freeze up or forget your lines. You might be wrong about something. Someone might notice that you’re an imperfect human, just like they are. You could lose your job, your friends, everything you hold dear. Well, not really, but you might be temporarily embarrassed, and that’s basically the same thing.

And sure, there are people and programs that could make the whole process easier. They could provide a safe, supportive environment for confronting your fears and building your confidence. They could help you plan your speech and smooth out your delivery. They could teach you simple techniques for feeling steadier on your feet and postures that feel comfortable and look natural. What a hassle. Putting in the work to improve, and being held accountable for it, is so inconvenient.

Other people benefit enormously from that kind of help, but that’s different. They’re not you.

On the other hand, maybe you would actually learn to like it. That would be even worse! What if you reached so many people that your business doubled? Tripled? Quadrupled? What if your world-changing speech started a social movement and you started getting invitations to speak with journalists and politicians? What if you started feeling such a rush from being on stage that you decided to take a drama class or do paid speaking gigs? How would you fit it all into your schedule?

Really, it’s best just to avoid this whole public speaking thing. Keep telling yourself “I could never do that”.

As long as you believe it, it will always be true.

Ready to change the narrative? Our Fearless Public Speaking course will give you the skills and confidence to make speaking work for you.

Image by Siora Photography on Unsplash.

Alex KeenanComment