Being in your comfort zone is bliss. You know you are good, you know you will not fail, you feel calm and relaxed.
But as soon as you make a small step outside, fear and panic set in. Numerous “what if” questions pop in your head.
We all have different “tender zones”, but I think for quite a bit of us – public speaking is the one that makes us feel every heart beat.
I still remember my own first presentation. I remember making a list of things in my head that could go wrong, being afraid of moving left or right and basically being glued to the stop. I have no idea how it all would have gone, if I hadn’t tripped on my laptop cord. Yes, that’s the first thing I did when I entered the conference room and it saved my presentation. Some people laughed, some tried to help me. But it lightened the mood and I realized that the “worst thing” I kept imagining has already happened. I made a mistake. And it was ok.
It did not ruin anything. My presentation was a success, and since I let go of my fears and doubts, I was able to laugh, gesture, answer audience’s questions and actually make a few friends.
My fear of public speaking never left. It is there every time I walk on to the stage. But now, instead of destroying me, it gives me energy. And when you have to present on a daily basis – you do need energy.
Ever since my first presentation, I have developed my own little public speaking success tip. Before every big step out of your comfort zone – do something stupid. Make a mistake. Feel embarrassed, silly and unprofessional…and let it go.