How This Keynote Speaker Went From Introvert to Extrovert
Fear keeps most people from jumping into their dream. I know. I’ve been there. It’s not easy to come out of our comfort zone because, well, duh, it’s uncomfortable. And we don’t like to be uncomfortable.
If your dream is to be a funny keynote speaker like me, then your fear is double since speaking in public is already one of the top five things people fear most – even higher than death.
Some people would consider me an extrovert. I guess I am somewhat of a bull in a china shop – the loudest and most easily viewed from a distance. But I wasn’t always this way. In fact, growing up I was painfully shy. It was a long journey from shy to over the top. But I made it. And now I want to share some of the secrets to how I conquered my stage fright.
1. Don’t conquer it. Embrace it, own it, move in spite of it.
Fear never really goes away. I don’t have more courage than you. I’ve just learned how to own it instead of it owning me. So the first secret is knowing that fear is completely normal and allowing it to be a part of your dream.
2. Learn to believe in yourself.
If you don’t believe you can do it, you’re right. The power of the mind is amazing. You can retrain yourself to be more confident. You just have to work at it, instead of waiting for it to happen.
3. Rewrite the fear story.
Fear is just another story we write. So change it. Scratch out the fear story and rewrite it having a positive ending.
4. Practice. Over and over and over.
Practice in front of groups where there is no pressure. Sign up to teach a class, head up a committee, throw yourself into a leadership position. No better way to learn than by doing. It gets easier.
5. Be silly.
Take an improv class to teach yourself how to act stupid and see that the world doesn’t fall apart. Take a stand up class where you have to get up and perform in front of others. Volunteer to work with kids at church, or at a camp. You have to be silly, and it will get more comfortable the more you do it.
6. Do it before you are ready.
Act brave first. Think brave first. Feelings follow thoughts and actions. Don’t wait until you feel ready.
7. Don’t picture your audience naked – picture them as hopelessly flawed as you are.
If you mess up, it won’t be that bad. Laugh it off and claim it as a weakness. They will love you for your honesty and courage to be real. I have found that people don’t connect to perfect speakers as much as they connect to imperfect speakers.
Get to the Root of Your Fear As a Motivational Keynote Speaker
Take a moment to figure out why you are afraid. REALLY. Are you afraid you will fail? Forget lines? Look stupid? Not be skinny enough? Put people to sleep? While many people sing the praises of visualizing success. I like to visualize failure too because it helps me see myself failing on stage, and once I’ve done that, I realize that I still want to do it. My dream is bigger than my fear. Then I go back to visualizing success.
Aunt Bitsy Conquers Her Fears
Here’s a fun story I wrote called “Aunt Bitsy’s Fear Conquerin’ Idear” – hope you enjoy it.
Share Your Conquering Fear Stories With Other Keynote Speakers
So what about you? Did you conquer stage fright? I’d love to hear how you did it! As keynote speakers we can get stronger together!
Kelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, comedian, motivational speaker, Huffington Post Contributor, and cast member of The Fashion Hero television show airing on Amazon Prime. She is also the author of Who Hijacked My Fairy Tale, The Land of If Only, The Story Formula, and The Affirmation Journal for Positive Thinking. She was a featured entertainer for Holland America Cruise Lines, keynote speaker for the International Toastmasters Convention, and has keynoted major conferences and corporate events from coast to coast. She just launched her one-woman show Who Hijacked My Fairy Tale in theaters, and it is being booked all over the country. In July of 2022, she was inducted into the National Speakers Association Speaker Hall of Fame.
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