I used to be terrified of public speaking. So what was my career move? Starting a business where I have to be on the stage of course.

I believe the universe puts us into challenging situations on purpose. I think being pulled out of our comfort zones helps us to learn essential lessons in life, and most importantly, it teaches us valuable secrets about ourselves.

I would never have put myself in the public speaking spotlight, but in my case, I didn’t have a choice. If I wanted my business to succeed, I had to put myself out there. That meant pulling past my fearful reservations and finding a way to get comfortable with public speaking.

Dancing became my go-to method for getting beyond stage fright:

I discovered years ago that dancing gets you out of your head and the nonsensical internal chatter it’s feeding you. 

My internal voice was telling me I was not good enough and I would be judged by those watching me. Cue the anxiety! Bring on the panic attack! I consulted members of my community and inner circle. One person, in particular, Heather White, helped me tremendously. She is a fantastic speaker, coach and was the MC at our first Vancouver conference.

Remember there is always a solution when you seek it with curiosity and patience.

In my case dancing on stage created positive energy and the audience cheering helped me to succeed. I also started using the technique before an important call, I’ll put on my headphones and do some chair dancing. Whatever mind chatter comes up seems to die down when I dance or move my body. Running also helps me in a similar way.

I had to dance to get myself out on stage in the first few years of public speaking. It was a lifesaving technique for me because I found people would cheer me on, and the feelings that popped up in my head were no longer harmful. 

Of course, I am human. I still get nervous, but my performance memories remind me that I can do it. I actually look forward to speaking opportunities now.

Here are some more public speaking tips that might help:

  • Be yourself or embrace an alter ego – who is roaring inside you? Embody those qualities. For me, the spirit of Oprah Winfrey guides me to the question: What would Oprah do?  To read more about developing an alter ego pick up the book: The Alter Ego Effect: The Power of Secret Identities to Transform Your Life by Todd Herman
  • Exercise before you are under pressure to speak up. Working up a sweat will calm you down and allow you to think clearly.  This also applies to an interview situation, sales presentation or uncomfortable meeting you are preparing for. Essentially build in time to workout when you need to enhance your performance skills. Trust me it works.
  • Visualize success.  Think about past experiences when you have experienced a win. How did you feel? Write down your past accomplishments – even little ones are worth noting. Imagine yourself succeeding before you are about to perform. Be sure to focus your energy on a possible positive outcome, not what could go wrong.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. Chances are you will be much harder on yourself than anyone else would be. Laugh off any flops and learn from your mistakes. Perhaps you need to prepare more or join a program to gain more confidence. Never be fearful to invest in yourself.