A part of being human is judging others and being judged in return. We make a judgement either positive or negative when we first encounter someone. We either internalize or externalize our opinion. This phenomenon extends to public speaking. Members of an audience will automatically form an opinion of a speaker soon as they begin to speak. It actually takes seven seconds for an audience to decide if they like or dislike the speaker. The speaker’s presentational style including their posture, nonverbal communication skills, gestures, voice, eye contact, friendliness, facial expression, attire, all help an audience form an opinion. Very rarely, if ever is an audience’s accolades unanimous. So why do public speakers often get so nervous prior to speaking? Here are five doable strategies for dealing with the fear of being judged when giving a presentation.
- Accept the fact, that the human brain does not have the capacity to store judgments in our memory for eternity. These judgments quickly leave our conscious awareness.
- Everyone judges each other. You can’t stop people from judging us. All we can do as speakers is give our best performance.
- Empathy and compassion is judgments kryptonite. Imagining yourself in the speaker’s shoes, shines a very different perspective on our judgments. We absorb a speakers’s weaknesses and strengths. We are a speaker’s mirror reflection. We feel the speaker’s pain if they are shaking and their joy if they shine.
- Find the joy in public speaking. Sharing your ideas can be a liberating experience. Your personal growth will soar after each presentation.
- Develop your sense of humour. Laugh at yourself and with others when appropriate. Authenticity is an important key to successful public speaking. Share your truth and be yourself.
Written by Bette Elly Klimitz