Giving presentations has been an important part of my development as a success coach for high-achieving female entrepreneurs and as a PhD candidate and academic progression. As part of my PhD I have been required and sometimes chosen (that’s right, I keep putting myself in the firing line) to give talks at conferences all around the world.
As part of my business This Simple Space I have also done workshops in front of audiences varying in size from 10-30 people.
The thing is, every time I give a talk or presentation, I feel fear. Every time. After all, public speaking is the number one fear. Just google ‘number one fear’ and the first thing that comes up is this:
‘…Public speaking is listed as American’s number-one fear, before death at number five, and loneliness, weighing in at number seven. Guess that means that most of us are less afraid of dying alone than of making fools of ourselves in front of others.’
For me, every time I go to do a talk I experience the butterflies and the mental chatter with thoughts like “What if I look stupid?” “What if I’m underprepared?” “What if my voice quivers?” “What if I forget what I’m saying or lose my place?” “What if people see that I’m scared?” And the list goes on!
While I know that all these ‘what if’ gremlins are simply about what other people might think and that these symptoms of fear are normal (as this is part of what I teach as part of my success coaching practice), I still feel it and get moments of increased anxiety every time.
In the past 2 years I have spoken nationally and internationally at:
The American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, 15-18 November, 2017;
The Victorian Criminology Postgraduate Conference, Melbourne, 7 July, 2017;
The International Coalition for Children of Incarcerated Parents Conference, Rotoroa, New Zealand, 20-23 March 2017;
PECRC Australian and New Zealand Criminology Conference, Hobart, 29 Nov – 2 Dec 2016;
Child Aware Conference, Brisbane, 23-24 May 2016.
For these talks I was privileged enough to have help from my wonderful partner, Anthony Ahern, who is an actor. He helped me with my preparation and gave me so much more confidence in being able to deliver my presentations clearly and directly, while feeling centred and focused.
He was so patient in his work with me and used a range of really simple and effective techniques including:
- How to break down the text into manageable parts
- Physical and vocal exercises
- Imagination and visualisation exercises and
- Clarifying my core reason and intention for giving the talk
After working with these techniques and exercises I felt I was able to embrace fear, rather than push it away, which was possibly the biggest surprise of all. I was even able to use fear to enhance my presentation.
Straight away I saw the difference my work with Anthony made to my public speaking and I started seeing results too. In 2016 I was so excited when at the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology Postgraduate and Early Career Researcher Conference in Hobart I was awarded the best postgraduate presentation. I couldn’t believe it.
I can hands down say that it was the work I had done with Anthony on public speaking that allowed me to get up there and just follow his system, as I had already practiced.
The tools Anthony taught me, and that I continue to use today, take my attention off myself and put it on the task at hand and that allows me to be present, powerful, and authentic.
So my friends, it is with great pleasure and excitement that I announce that The Simple Space is expanding into public speaking and you can contact Anthony Ahern by clicking the link below.
If you have any sort of public speaking that you are worried about, whether it is giving a talk at work, at an event, speaking at a workshop or even talking in lectures or a tutorial environment, contact Anthony now and speak about his wonderful services. You will be so glad you did.