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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 #3 - Great Speakers Donít Get Stage Fright

Mark Twain once said ďThere are two types of speakers: those that are nervous and those that are liars.Ē

Hereís the truth about stage fright: everyone gets it to some degree. Now, having said that, I can tell you that there have been times when I have taken the stage as a performer with zero anxiety and I am not proud of that fact. Years ago, when I was playing music in bars for a living, there were nights when taking the stage meant no more to me than a job to make money and I did it because thatís what I was hired to do.

On some of those late nights in lonely pubs with a handful of very intoxicated patrons, I felt no stage fright when I took the stage. That made me realize it was time for me to get out of that business, and I did.  However, I canít remember a single time when I took the stage to speak without having some measure of fear.

Some speakers show no sign of fear, thatís true. Thatís because those speakers have learned to acknowledge the fear, respect it and turn it into a constructive energy so what they feel drives them toward a better performance. They prepare so thoroughly, and they know the techniques so well, that they feel excitement more than fear. As a speaker, you want that fear and excitement. You need that fear and excitement because if you donít have it, youíre probably taking the stage only for the money, because thatís what you have been hired to do, and that could mean itís time to get out of the business.

Why is this important to you? Because you need to know that when your hands shake, when your pulse races and when your blood pressure rises, thatís precisely whatís supposed to happen! If these things donít happen, it means that youíre not emotionally involved and you should think twice about taking the stage. A lack of emotional involvement likely means a lack of respect for the opportunity, leading to poor preparation and thus right back to the first myth. Therefore, ďFEAR,Ē in regards to public speaking, doesnít equal false evidence appearing real. Rather, the fear of speaking in public is based on factual evidence thatís absolutely real. That fear will drive proper preparation, which will translate to sensational performances resulting in the best possible outcome.

So, whatís the lesson? Love that fear, you need it!

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