How thinking like an entrepreneur can help you conquer your fear of presenting
I have thoroughly enjoyed Marie Forleo's quirky videos, powerful interviews and insightful business posts over the past five or so years.
Marie's sassy New Jersey gumption offers some powerful no-nonsense ideas all of us can learn from as we strive to grow ourselves and our teams.
Recently I also binged on her new book, Everything is Figureoutable and wanted to share some insights that might help you address a challenge many clients tell me is a big one.
Do you love presenting to a group, or does it make your knees quake?
If your knees wobble, your palms sweat or your voice quivers even the slightest bit, here are three ideas from Marie's book you might find useful:
- Fear is our friend, not our enemy (even when sweating in front of 100 people)
- Rewiring our self-talk is essential (and easier than you might think)
- Everything really IS figureoutable
I dig in a bit deeper on each of these points here.
Fear is our friend, not our enemy
It is not uncommon for my clients to tell me how nervous they are about making high-stakes presentations. I get it. I too get nervous when taken out of my comfort zone, especially when in front of others.
Marie encourages us all to harness the energy that comes from the fear, rather than being daunted by it.
Here are a few ideas from her on how to overcome this debilitating F-word:
1. Name it to tame it: She rightly says that one reason our fears become so debilitating is that they are vague. We don’t slow down enough to thoroughly question or assess its probability. We also don’t think through the worst-case scenario and how we would cope with that. Once we know what we are afraid of, how real it is and how we would cope if it came to pass, it is so much easier to face it and deal with it.
2. Know that action is the antidote to fear: The trick is allowing ourselves to feel fear while we take action. Make the call even if your pits are sweating. Speak up, even if your voice shakes. Present even if your knees feel like they might collapse! As she says, doing the thing is far easier than the terror we inflict upon ourselves by stressing over it in our heads.
3. Accept the truth about failure: It’s not as bad as you think it is. To quote Marie, “I win or I learn, but I never lose”. Everyone fails. Failure is an event, not a characteristic.
She recommends thinking about the word ‘fail’ as a faithful attempt in learning. That’s it.
I must remember this the next time I send a deluge of emails by mistake or miss a typo in one of my emails!
Rewiring our self-talk is essential
Also a Carol Dweck Mindset fan, Marie encourages us to avoid the #1 tell-tale sign that we are blocking ourselves from progressing so we succeed.
Our self-talk includes phrases like “I can never do this”, “This won't work for me” or perhaps “I know this already”.
While there are times when both of these statements are valid, she encourages us to be careful if we use them any time someone tries to encourage us to think about or try something new.
When nervous and getting ready to make an important presentation, consciously rewire this inside voice to say “I can and I will”. Add to that “If I focus on the basics, and talk to the room as though they are individuals, the rest will work out just fine”.
Everything really IS figureoutable
I had the great fortune to grow up on a farm in rural Australia where we rarely had everything we needed to fix a surprise problem. We were also too far away from a shop to find the ‘bit' we needed to fix it conventionally.
This meant we became very good at thinking laterally and solving problems and I agree with Marie on this one, whether we are facing a practical or professional problem.
If we assume ‘everything is figureoutable’ we will have more courage to face a challenge, such as preparing and delivering a presentation.
However, she rightly quotes far fancier people than me in making her point. You might find these useful for yourself, or your teams:
She quotes British Physicist David Deutsch in saying that ‘everything that is not forbidden by laws of nature is achievable given the right knowledge'.
I assure you: standing in front of a group and ‘nailing’ your presentation is definitely NOT forbidden by the laws of nature.
She also quotes the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland (2010 film):
ALICE: This is impossible
THE MAD HATTER: Only if you believe it is.
And lastly, a succinct one from Tony Robbins: It's never about your resources, it's about your resourcefulness”.
For more about Marie's book, click here (not an affiliate link).
PS Don't be put off by her New Jersey ‘sass’ or lack of ivy league credentials. Forbes has a thing or two to say about her and Oprah describes her as the thought leader for the next generation.
PPS Watch out for updates to the Clarity First Program for March. The team and I are loving taking it up a notch.