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From the desk of Steve Lowell, Master Speaker and Mentor to those who speak in public.

Public Speaking Myths to Clear Up Right Now

 Myth #1 - FEAR=“False Evidence Appearing Real”

Many of us have heard that the word FEAR is really nothing more than an acronym for “False Evidence Appearing Real.” Many motivational speakers and personal development-types use this definition to remind us that the things we fear the most are usually not worthy of the emotional baggage we tend to attach to them.

I believe this definition of the word FEAR holds merit in the business of day to day living. You have probably been in situations where you create the worst-case scenario in your head and project that scenario as the most probable outcome of the situation. Then you attach the associated emotional baggage to that outcome and let that baggage drive the way you respond to the other things that happen in your life.

When the situation does finally resolve itself, you discover the scenario you created in your mind did not materialize. The outcome was not nearly as bad as you anticipated. Certainly, it was not worthy of the emotional baggage you attached to it. Worse still, you were living your life based on a scenario that never evolved. For that entire time, your life was driven by the emotional baggage that was attached to an outcome based on false evidence that only appeared to be real.

There are situations, however, when fear isn’t based on false evidence that only appears to be real. Worst-case scenarios may be the most likely outcome at times. That outcome is worthy of the emotional baggage we may attach to it and is based on a different “FEAR,” namely, “Factual Evidence that’s Absolutely Real.”

Let’s consider a soldier in the streets of a war-torn city who is sent to the location of an explosive device. His job is to disarm that bomb. It doesn’t take much imagination to determine the worst-case scenario here. I’m sure most soldiers in this situation would agree that a possible outcome is likely to be a worst-case scenario, and that outcome is worthy of all the emotional baggage a soldier might attach to it. Now, if that soldier treats the bomb as false evidence that only appears to be real, well, I suspect that’s a mistake that would only be made once.

There are some people who consider the endeavor of public speaking isn’t quite as dangerous as disarming a live bomb. I would tend to agree. However, I can tell you that I have seen many presentations blow up in the speaker’s face, and the results can be devastating.

You may have heard that the fear of speaking in public is greater than the fear of death. I have never seen actual studies to support that claim. While it may well be that, statistically, most people would rather die than speak in public, I believe that most of us would agree that the fear of speaking in public is a substantial

fear. Actually, most of us share this fear with varying degrees of intensity.

So, what is it that most people are afraid of when it comes to speaking in public? When I ask my students this question, the most common replies given include:

·        What if I forget my words and look foolish?

·        What if my audience doesn’t like me?

·        What if my audience doesn’t believe me?

·        What if I say the wrong thing and offend my audience?

·        What if my audience judges me or criticizes me?

·        What if everything goes wrong?

Essentially, the fear of speaking in public boils down to the fear of losing one’s self-image, reputation and credibility.

Here’s the truth about speaking in public: Every time you stand in front of an audience, your credibility, reputation and, thus your self-image, are on the line. Chances are high that you will forget something you had planned to say. It’s highly possible that you will do or say something to offend people or, at the very least, cause them to disagree with you. Not everyone will believe you and most likely something will go wrong.

Why do I make this point? Because if you, as a speaker, treat the fear of speaking as “false evidence only appearing to be real,” you will be less likely to put forth the effort required to reduce the likelihood of the worst-case scenario becoming the actual outcome. Your chances of incurring damage to your reputation, credibility and image become, in fact, very high.

The fear of public speaking isn’t based on false evidence that only appears to be real, but it’s based on Factual Evidence that’s Absolutely Real.

The good news is that you hold in your hands the means by which you can substantially reduce the likelihood of the worst-case scenario manifesting itself into the probable outcome. In fact, by using the lessons in this book, the more likely outcome of your speaking endeavors will be to greatly enhance your reputation, credibility and thus, your image.

What’s the lesson? The consequences of speaking poorly are real. Know the perils; respect the perils and prepare for the perils.

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