I recently spent some time coaching a woman who had high anxiety around giving presentations at work. Within the last year, this individual had started a new job. Her new position included presenting at least once a month to colleagues and coworkers.
This woman was a professional with a Masters Degree. Yet, her anxiety around public speaking was getting the best of her. She described to me how her anxiety caused her to miss major points in a recent presentation. She also reported that the energy in the room seemed to shift during her presentations. She felt this was due to everyone in the room feeling the anxiety she was projecting.
The fear of public speaking is common. The majority of people report that they fear public speaking more than spiders or even death itself. Studies show that three out of every four people (74%) suffer from speech anxiety. One statistic I read said that the fear of public speaking has a 10% impairment on wages.
For authors, speaking is an effective platform for selling books. Because people buy books from authors they know. Authors who speak often sell more books.
Yet, many authors suffer from speaking anxiety. They dislike being the center of attention and talking in public. The thought of doing so makes them want to run for cover.
What was fascinating for me was watching the transformation that took place in the woman I was coaching. Through identifying and tweaking some underlying faulty thoughts she had about her presentations, we were able to dramatically decrease her presentation anxiety.
The false assumption that this professional was struggling with was that she had to be the expert. For her, that meant that she had to have all the answers. Maybe you feel the same way.
This belief is a huge burden. My client knew she did not have all the answers, so when she gave a presentation, she felt like a fraud.
Here’s the truth: You don’t have to be an expert to speak to groups of people. The purpose of a presentation is to share information or knowledge that you have—including a personal experience and what you learned from it—with a group of people. That’s all.
Having all the answers is not required. All that is required is your authentic self, sharing what you know. This small thought shift can make a huge difference. And it is an important one. It is even important for you, as an author, in your writing.
You are not called to have all the answers. You are called to write what you know.
When you are part of God’s Kingdom, this is all that is required—sharing what you know. What people do with what you share is up to God. The outcome is in his hands.
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