Overcoming the fear of performing in public

Unless you never leave your house you are bound to deal with an embarrassing, awkward moment in public. So how do you handle it?

Dianne Sikel , a Phoenix, Ariz. Consultant & Communication coach, says the bottom line is that these moments are simply little mistakes... that we have to give ourselves a break.

Sikel says it’s important to remember that no one has gone through life without ever making an error during a public performance. Being able to just laugh it off and keep going will not only allow you to perform better, but will show others that you’re not afraid of making mistakes.

“I’ve noticed that admitting that I made a mistake or said something ‘off’ is the best!” says Sikel. It takes all the pressure off of delivering a public performance and makes you much stronger. One of the best ways to learn is from making mistakes. Sikel says to remember, making mistakes is one of the best ways we can learn and improve upon ourselves.

There are also times when we have no control over what happens. “When an embarrassing moment arises…Like a burp- I have no control over that,” says Sikel.

She stresses that these uncontrollable occurrences can be a great conversational piece: “If I bring it up- I could say, ‘Has that ever happened to you? How did you handle it? Isn’t it amazing that our bodies can do what they do and I don’t have the power to control everything and boy- isn’t that good news?!’” It’s important to remember that everyone has these moments where something happens that they have absolutely no control over. Showing that you can handle this crisis situation collectively can really portray a strong image of self-confidence.

And don’t forget that in the realm of public speaking the mystical feeling known as karma truly does exist. “Showing ‘Mercy’ to those who are embarrassed or screw up while speaking in public=GOOD KARMA,” says Sikel. She adds, “Giving ourselves and others a break is a gift that is guaranteed to make all of our relationships better!”

No one goes through life without having these embarrassing moments happen. We’ve all felt the horrors of public speaking, whether it is anxiety, forgetting the words or some random bodily function over which we have no control. Being able to laugh it off or forgive those who suffer from these collective fears can really go a long way in making life better for all of us.

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