fear of public speaking


How To Transform Fear And Nervousness Into Power And Energy To Impact Your Audience

Are you afraid of speaking in front of groups? How does this hold you back in work, in your career, or in your business?

Join Dr. Aziz as he interviews public speaking expert, Danielle Louise Ross, uncover powerful tips about how to overcome your fears, deal with nervousness, and become a powerful speaker.

Click below to hear this episode!

Show Notes

2729b63Danielle Louise Ross is a an actress turned recognized marketing expert, speaker, and coach who specializes in helping mission-driven experts attract more clients by being more of who they are. Check out Brand You Business and the FREE GIFT to our listeners HERE!


Afraid to Speak in Front of a Crowd??

Dr. Aziz: Hey! Welcome to today’s episode of this show. Today we’re going to be diving into something that is incredibly valuable for your life and it’s public peaking. Public speaking is one of the most important things that you can develop it is essential to your career, to your work. If you want to move up in any form any fashion you need to be able to speak to people whether it’s in a small meeting of 3 or 5 or 7 where you can share your ideas confidently there or to bigger groups, to presentations, to sales presentations, conferences, being able to get in front of a business owner, being able to go to networking events or other places in the community where you can speak in front of people, or if you do anything online being able to record videos which is a form of public speaking, as well as your personal life is impacted by public speaking, isn’t it? I mean there’s so many opportunities to get out there and share with a group of people or maybe give a toast at a wedding or any event and so often we hold ourselves back out of fear. It’s one of the biggest fears and according to some polls it’s the biggest fear that we face as people and so we’re held back and it takes a lot of confidence to be able to get out there and speak up. And here’s the thing, you can master it and you can learn how to overcome that fear and get better at it. I used to be terrified of public speaking.

And I’m excited today because we have a guest who is a public speaking expert. She is phenomenal in front of groups, she has been on the stage over a thousand times I think it is and like that. We’ll find out in a moment when we talk with her but she is good and she has a bunch of tips, a bunch of ideas. And in today’s episode we’re going to look at how to overcome that fear, how to deal with nervousness, how to shift the way that you see the audience so you’re not so scared of them and how to really put yourself out there in a powerful way.

So without further ado, let’s jump in to that interview with Danielle.

Dr. Aziz: My guest expert today is Danielle Louise Ross of Brand New Business. She an actress turned recognized marketing expert, speaker, and coach who specializes in helping mission-driven experts attract more clients by being more of who they are. Her signature system has helped service-based professionals in a variety of industries fill their businesses with happy highly invested clients with more than 70% of Danielle’s clients significantly raising the rates sometimes even double or triple in 6 months or less. Danielle’s latest training helps the service-based expert using speaking as their core promotional strategy and that is exactly why I wanted to have Danielle on the show today because she’s an expert at speaking at public speaking which is something that I think takes a lot of confidence and we can all benefit from learning about it for our own careers, our businesses, and even our own personal lives. So thank you so much for joining us for today’s show, Danielle.

Danielle: Well, thank you for having me, Aziz.

Dr. Aziz: I’m excited to talk with you. We can dive more into the specifics around business and business confidence and all the so many different directions we can go.  But the first lace I’d love to start with you is public speaking. I mean, it’s something that most people are anxious about, avoidant of, and especially, you know, if we have lower confidence or we don’t like being the center of attention I know a lot of people I work with have spent many years of their lives carefully avoiding that. And so the first question I just want to get your thoughts since you teach people how to be more confident, how to speak, why do you think we get so nervous about talking in front of others in the first place? Have you ever found that one out?

Danielle: Yeah and I guess I’ll start a little bit there with a personal story on that one. Because I don’t think nervousness in itself is a bad thing and it’s part of the process really. So, one thing that I like to say to my clients because nervousness comes up around speaking and marketing and selling is that you’re either nervous or you’re dead. See what I mean? We’re living our really boring lives so just the fact that that adrenaline is there is part of the thrill of speaking and it’s part of what can make it really electric and amazing. So for me actually, you know, you ran in my bio, before I got into the business and marketing space I was in acting and I actually come from a long line of professional actresses and artists. My mom’s mom was an actress, my mom was an actress, my brother is a comedienne, so there’s a little bit of that that’s in my blood and I was just drawn to being up in front of people but that’s not without nervousness. Actually nervousness was there from the very beginning and very intense nervousness. I knew I had to be up there and I think actually, Aziz, because I was more comfortable in front of the crowd than in the crowd we can talk about that later, I still had the pulses of adrenaline. So I remember when I was first up in front of people my leg would shake like I would feel like my knee *0:05:46 or my hand. So just anybody that has ever felt that if you thought, does that mean that I can’t do this? Not at all. That’s just part of the thrill. Again, that’s part of what makes you bring something exciting to the table rather than, you know, getting up there and just checking out. So it’s always a thrill. It was always very mysterious like how could I learn to ride this wave of energy and maybe not have my knee shake. It took a while. But I just was driven to continue to get up there. I don’t know what was pushing up there exactly but I just wanted to get better. And the more that I was up in front of an audience the more that I found ways to either act or tell stories that I was really passionate about and focusing on anything other than me. My theme partner or what I was up there to share, the message behind the speech or the story the knees kind of stops shaking and the hands stop shaking. And I started to become comfortable actually stage really became like a second home to me. I started to really root that this was an awesome safe place to explore and be real and actually take even more risk maybe than at some times that I was taking in my actual life. So, I just want to say in terms of nervousness I think we have to refrain what that means. My first acting class I took was when I was 17 and I had just a mind blowing breakthrough moment when I realized that all of my peers who were out there really auditioning for stuff not just the nurse school setting but outside and really were inspiring to me. All admitted that they were nervous. Every single person. And it was like I just took a breath like, oh it’s okay, it’s okay that I felt this. This feeling is actually a part of it.

Dr. Aziz: Yeah. There’s so many valuable gems in what you’re saying about being pulled up there for some reason beyond what you could initially describe, the idea that when you’re focused shifted away from yourself things started to change. And also, this idea that nervousness is energy and that we want energy, if we have no energy we’re dead. I think that’s really…

Danielle: Or really bored.

Dr. Aziz: Really bored, exactly. We’ve all had that experience of the professor who has been doing that for 25 years in front of students audiences of couple hundred and it’s just the most lifeless dry experience and there’s no energy. There’s no nervousness on the professor’s part and as a result there’s not much passion in what they’re teaching. I love what you’re saying and one thing I’m curious about is so many people that I’ve talked to or worked with one of their biggest fears is hey that nervousness is not okay. Sure maybe other people feel it but no one can see that I’m nervous because if people see that I’m nervous then they won’t take me seriously, they’ll think I’m weak or that my points aren’t valid. What is your thought on that if nervousness is shared by everyone is that true with people’s fear? Have you seen something different? What’s your experience?

Danielle: I definitely think that’s a lot of our fear like I think that a lot of us have like a deep whether it’s conscious or unconscious fear of being exposed in some way. It doesn’t have to be rational it’s just like, you know, our inner animal wanting to survive. So I think that’s a totally normal fear to have however I think that one of the things you could look at it if anybody is listening, you know, if you’re feeling that now or if you ever felt that like really start to notice how when people are vulnerable and your life were even on stage or in film, anywhere, just notice how that is attractive and really pulls you in. So I’ve taken a ton of acting classes, Aziz, and it really helps in bringing that into this business medium or public speaking and one of my acting teachers said, you know, you’ve got to go out of it not in. So if you go in especially if we’re trying not to feel something, you know, what you resist persists, and so don’t shake leg, don’t do it. It’s like, damn it it’s shaking and then it’s like everything is about your legs shaking. Rather than doing that just being like, you know what it’s okay that I still feel vulnerable. Actually there’s a speaking strategy of just being totally real about what’s going on with you. Even if it’s like, wow, this is actually a risk for me I’m feeling a little nervous right now, I’m totally going out with it and landing that on the audience to share it with them that usually actually brings you closer together. Because now you’re connecting over something real and, you know, I mentioned it right on top you know public speaking is like the biggest fear over death so anybody can relate to you saying like, hey I’m feeling a little nervous right now or I had a client once who was giving his speech and it was a really new speech and was really, really excited about it however it takes her a little bit of time to learn, she’s dyslexic and she brought no cards but totally landed it on the audience and even made a joke about the note cards. Just including it and the experience everybody loved her. You know being perfect does not, first of all it’s not really achievable but trying to be perfect is not necessarily attractive, you know. Being on a pedestal people want you to be relatable to them and you can do that by just saying like, okay I’m human. Just acknowledge it. Go out not in. If you go in it becomes all about you. It’s really not about you it’s about what you’re sharing and your audience. So if you go in it becomes all about you and then you really give that fear of place to kind of hijack. And so really putting that attention outside of your self is the key. And I didn’t coin this but the enemy of fear really is involvement that’s another thing I picked up in my acting eras. I don’t know who said it but it’s really true. The more involved you are the more you refocus your attention on like, what’s that thing that you got to share, what’s the story that you’ve got to tell. The more that fear doesn’t really have space to take over and it’s going to be there buzzing around but again that’s energy so it’s okay. Si it’s really about harvesting the energy but not letting it take over into hijacking fear that has nothing to do with your real mission.

Dr. Aziz: Yeah. That’s a good one to realize that fear can be an energy that we experience and it does not have to control us and limit us and the more we kind of deal with it and work with that energy I think the more of that power in ourselves that we see. And I love what you’re saying there it maps on so many different areas of life and confidence where that’s deep fear if I reveal this thing that I’m nervous or that I have this fear everyone’s going to judge me and ridicule me and, you know, cast me out, and then when we have the courage to do it I mean it’s kind of paradoxical. It’s one of the highest confidence moves to be able to tell an audience I’m nervous right now.

Danielle: Totally.

Dr. Aziz: And it’s a huge amount of confidence, everyone feels it, people relate to you as you said instantly because 9 out of 10 people in your audience would be nervous upfront and the other one would be dead in some ways. So it’s totally relatable and let’s keep going with what you’re saying though is like there’s the paralyzing fear and then there’s like the using of the fear and turning it into an involvement. So, how might someone start on that process? Let’s say there’s someone listening right now who’s like, yeah, you know, I think everyone can see in their lives most people can see especially in their professional lives, their career, that if they were to speak out more whether it’s doing presentations or sales presentations or outreach for their business or just speaking up in internal meetings in their company that that would benefit them and help them progress in their career and develop their confidence in their own selves. So someone’s on board. They’re listening, they’re excited, they want to do this. How can they start? How can they start to break through that paralyzing fear and get out there and develop that ability?

Danielle: Yeah. Well, I see one quick distinction that I think will help on on its own which is, you know, what do you really care about? What do you want to speak about? What do you want to share? So I don’t even know as somebody that has been on stage over a thousand times and has done a lot of public speaking if I could get up and talk about anything. I also can’t feel anything. I can’t feel anything that I don’t believe in. So, starting with like if you’re going to pursue this, what do you have a burning desire to talk to people about? What would really rival the fear when you feel like if I could just help people understand this thing if I can teach people, if I can educate people really coming from that place of service you think that’s a really great starting point. All my clients we talked about speaking it’s their sharing their mission and what they believe they were born to teach on stage. So there’s a real deep connection to why this material must be shared which all on its own can already sort of take us out of our shells. So, first, you know, what do you really care about? And then I also think starting to take those action steps, you know. There’s one thing to read about speaking or even listen to a podcast about speaking but you’ll never learn the deep, deep level of how to get better and be more comfortable until you just start doing it. There’s no substitute for that education. So starting to take steps whatever that first step is to say, I’m committing and maybe you tell people to do something to make it so, so can’t back out and just doing one thing, you know. The path to mastery started with one step, right, and it’s one step after the other. So really just kind of my  earlier with the shaking knee it was a multiple times of getting up there doing things that I cared about, I wanted to share, or play that I thought was really powerful and just getting up there again and getting up there again and over time I became more and more confident. The confidence is going to come out through that repetition and maybe you’ll feel confident right away. You know, just a side note because I have had so many performance towards this, Aziz, so it’s fun to talk about this topic that there’s so many levels to it I don’t know what to mention sometimes. But I also have a background as a musician for a period of time I was at a band and there was a part of me really transitioning into owning my musician . I had talking about fear I had this experience when I was a child playing the piano at a recital. When I looked up at my dad and we locked eyes and I forgot my whole song and from that moment on through my whole upbringing even though I continue to study music a lot I would never play without my music because I didn’t want that feeling again ever if I could control it. And when I was an adult I really wanted to break through that. I’m a personal development junkie and I didn’t like the idea that there was this thing that I was afraid of and that I hadn’t overcome. So I decided to start going out to open mics and not with my music. I’m singing, why not just do all of it, right? So, I remember I got all my friends involved so this is like that social accountability pieces like I’m going to tell all my friends and we’d do this so it’s way harder for me to back out. And I had practiced a lot and I remember telling my friends like I may throw up, I felt like  before I got called up there. I might melt onto the floor I don’t know what’s going to happen you guys but you just have to stay with me and help me go through this because I really need to do my 3 minutes on the stage with no music because this is what I’m trying to overcome. And what do you know but I got up there and in the first 30 seconds ii was already addicted and I did not want to get down after 3 minutes. It was like I’m surviving that way even it was electric and it was exciting and I felt myself breaking through that fear and that was different. It was never the same after that because I created that moment where I could get up there and it doesn’t mean that for some sometimes the breakthroughs happen immediately and sometimes they take more time but they do happen step by step and I think we all know that what we imagine the catastrophe or doomsday scenario that we can imagine in our head about what will happen usually isn’t how it actually goes even if we’re really nervous. What actually happens is something totally different you can predict it in the moment and those are the moments that will change you and give you that confidence.

Dr. Aziz: Absolutely. I love that story. And just to go on what you’re saying there at the end…

We’re going to pause for just one more moment and then we’re going to dive back into our interview with speaking expert, Danielle Louise Ross.

The worst case scenario it often doesn’t really happen and usually much of the if we have a performance where, you know, you freeze or you trying to speak and you’re trying to find the words, or any situation like that the real pain of it is not this horrible rejection from the audience. It’s usually kind of mild maybe people don’t seem that engaged or what have you. The real pain and suffering comes from this blowing it up in our minds and the embarrassment, oh my God I was such a fool, and give me tips for that. Because I think, you know, I absolutely agree with you that you keep doing it you will get better and that’s just true about anything. And yet I think the shock that people are most scared of is that the first two times, you know, what if it’s the critic in their own head that tells them all these bad things makes them feel embarrassed. Do you have any suggestions on how you help people deal with the aftermath if you want to call it that?

Danielle: Maybe aftermath in terms of how they process what happened?

Dr. Aziz: Yeah. Let’s say what happened and it didn’t go horribly but it didn’t go that great either. It was kind of, you know, they were putting people to sleep or they forgot a good chunk of what they were going to say and so they cut their talk short, something like that happens. How do people overcome that adversity?

Danielle: Yeah. Well I think that actually happens way less than you think. Like with some structure and support I just don’t see people tank like they just typically don’t. They get up there and they do pretty well and one way and this may not be what you would expect but I’m really big on anytime that anyone starts to get up there and test a new talk or even speaking more informally so sometimes you can get opportunities in the business world speaking for small groups rather than getting  stage at a conference. Anytime you can to collect simple feedback from the audience may not be what anywhere you would think I would go but the reason is typically the feedback is a lot better than what the individual thinks. Like we have this experience in our body in the bubble of ourselves that typically is very, very critical whereas on the outside people are really going, oh my gosh you are vulnerable, you shared that story, you really touched me, and so I’m a huge, huge advocate of here’s how simple it can be. What did you like most about my presentation? What could be even better? And that alone really blows people away because they’re critical and say, that wasn’t very good, what are you doing, all that stuff. And the audience will say, please keep speaking I love that, that story touched me, you were so brave. So that’s one of many ways to make sure you’re feeding what is good, what’s happening well. And even if, and I like I said this is super rare, even if you were the tank or whatever that means to take a moment to first like give yourself a huge high-five for being more brave than most people. Most people stay in their very limited world without a lot of risk taking and without a lot of excitement. Just be like, wow I’m somebody, I’m the kind of person who takes risks in life and what did I learn? And take whatever time you need depending on what you’re doing. My clients are typically on a bit of a time length. They want to learn and they want to learn it quickly but what did you learn and how can you really take those learnings ahead with you the next time you do it. So it’s never one off, life isn’t one off and you know how on these reality shows there was like this is your final chance to make it.  this is my last chance, this is my big moment. But you know what, life is not like that. There are always do-overs. There are always, what’s the next time? It’s a series of events. So also just think about it in terms of a timeline that one time where you really crash and burn like if that were to happen what did you get out of that because I guarantee you if you really take in the learnings from that the next time you’re confidence or what you do really well is going to partially be borrowed from that time that you really sucked. Like you got that from there because you made a connection and what you would never do if you didn’t get up there are do it.

Dr. Aziz: Yeah. I love so much what you’re saying and it highlights how we have this aversion of a bad experience and that means it didn’t go exactly the way I wanted it to and I didn’t perform perfectly and everyone didn’t love it, hey maybe not. Let’s get that feedback and find out how it really went because we can be so critical of ourselves. But the reality is that that “bad experience” as you’re saying can teach us so much and we can learn so much. In my experience anything that I’m really scared of happening it actually is a blessing in my life when it happens because it’s really not that big of a deal. No matter how painful it is I figure it out, I work through it, and then, you know there’s even more confidence that can come from that. I was like, oh yah I could handle that. And the beauty is and I’m sure you’ve experienced this too, once you do the speaking a lot you can have a moment where you lose your train of thought or the words don’t come, and you can just find your way again pretty quickly.

Danielle: Yeah.

Dr. Aziz: That brings us to the end of the time that we have today for this interview. We will be continuing the interview in next week’s show where we’re going to go beyond the fear and start looking at how do we get really good at this? How do we become powerful speakers, impactful speakers, charismatic speakers who can move people and influence people? To share your message for sales, for presentations, or just when you want to raise your glass and make a toast this has no end to the applications in your life.

So stay tuned for the rest of the interview next week we’ll be diving into all of that and let’s end now with what we always end with which is your action step.

Action Step

Your action step for today there’s two levels depending on what level you’re at. The higher level is get out there and speak, find some opportunity to speak in front of a group of people, face that fear, challenge it. If you remember what Danielle said that mastery starts with a single step and the reality is the reason most people are terrified of public speaking and never good at it is because is that he’s haven’t gotten out there and done it and done it a lot. So if this is something that’s really important to you you can see the value of this in your life and I encourage you to find an opportunity this week to speak in front of a group of people even if it’s only 5 or 6 people in a meeting maybe you’re normal quiet, maybe you call a meeting in your company, maybe you find a place to give a talk. And so either you do it or you schedule it perhaps you can’t get the talk going this week but at least you scheduled it and get something on paper commit yourself so now you’re accountable to go do it. Now if that’s beyond your level if you’re terrified to do that and it will be too much then I’d say your action step would be a lower level one which would be to look at the top 3 fears that are holding you back about speaking. Just make a note of them. What are the top 3 fears for me and then how will I deal with those things if they happened? And, what is it worth to me? Why is it worth it to me to overcome to overcome these fears? What will I get? What’s at the end of the tunnel? What’s the carrot? What’s the thing that’s going to draw you forward? It’s a funny metaphor because maybe that motivates a horse but a carrot probably is not going to motivate a whole lot of people. But, you know, what’s the goal at the end of the tunnel? What’s the thing that’s like, wow that would be amazing if I could do that and speaking would be the way to get there. So, that’s the lower level ones they work with the fears and the motivation ultimately to get you to the place where you get out there and do it.

So, if you’re ready to do it get out there and find a place to speak and I look forward to speaking with you in the next episode where we’re going to dive even more on how to be an impactful speaker to make a bigger impact in the world and all the people that you can reach with your message.

So thanks for listening today. If you want to dive into the conversation go to facebook.com/socialconfidence. You can also go to, shrinkfortheshyguy.com and send me a message through there, an audio or text message. I love to read about how the show is impacting you, what you’re getting, successes, challenges, setbacks, dreams, breakthroughs, all those stuff I love hearing about. So thanks so much for joining me today and I look forward to speaking with you more in the next episode. Until we speak again. May you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.

Music Credit

All music is licensed or royalty free.

DeepSound – Rain Clouds
(Licensed through Pond5.com)

Ask The Shrink:
Boccherini Minuet
(Licensed through Pond5.com)

Action Step:
Justin Crosby – Skrillit
(Licensed through Pond5.com)

Lokfield – Terra’s Theme Dubstep
(Creative Commons License)

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