When I think back to being a small child, the ghouls, ghosts, draculas and witches of Halloween seemed really scaaaary!! As I got older though, it was all in good fun. I came to see that the orchestrated scare of the traditional autumn holiday was just a game; it was False Evidence Appearing Real (FEAR).
This is how it can be to face an audience when it's your turn to public speak. For so many of us, getting up in front of that group makes us want to jump out of our skin as if the audience is a sea of scaaaary monsters ready to pounce in the funhouse.
Yet in reality, just like the characters beneath the Halloween garb, you and the audience are just regular people.
The FEAR that arises in front of an audience is often just that: False Evidence Appearing Real. These thoughts and feelings are typically just ghosts of the past that need to be rooted out so you can be free to share your gifts.
So how can you face those fears in a way that allows you to get your message across to the actual 'people' who are more often than not just dying to hear what you have to say?
Here are a few tips. First, prepare yourself by looking at your own eyes in the mirror. (If you can see yourself there and feel your heart, it will help you trust that you are up for the challenge. Tell yourself things like: "You've got this. I believe in you. You are a greaaat speaker. Your message is super important."
Those who freak out before or during a presentation abandon themselves and their power.
The most important thing you can do for both yourself and your audience is to see yourself for the pure potential that you are, and trust that the right words will flow through.
Give yourself a pep talk, in your car's rearview mirror right before you step into the hot seat. You must choose that you are worthy and that you are made for public speaking, and affirm it over and over again.
Second, visualize the truth of what is underneath the made-up scary monsters in the audience. Before you speak, see your audience in your mind’s eye as raving fans who are excited to hear you have to say. You can even imagine that they are giving you a standing ovation!
Third, when you are speaking to your awesome audience, make eye contact with one person at a time for an entire sentence. This humanizes the experience and helps everyone feel connected. When doing this, you will block everyone else out, which is a good thing. You'll create magnetism this way too, and your nervous system will calm down because you will basically be having a conversation with one set of eyes, then another, then another.
When you implement these tips, you are likely to remember that the ghouls you see in the audience are nothing more than your nervous system making it all up to try and keep you safe.