by Jeff Goins
For years, I avoided public speaking, because I was afraid. Of what, I wasn’t sure. Isn’t that how fear operates — by veiling itself in mystery?
A lot of people are afraid of speaking in public. The problem? They’re believing lies. Maybe you’re prone to some of these, as well; I know I was.
It took some experience and coaching for me to believe the truth about speaking and the impact my words could make.
It’s time that you and I both faced some myths about this irrational fear.
Myth #1: Public speaking doesn’t do any good
With all the empty promises in our world, it’s not uncommon to have your guard up against mass messaging. It’s been misused by enough people — from marketers to politicians — that we’re all a little skeptical these days.
The truth is communication can change the world. It already has many times over. From Jesus to Gandhi to MLK, we’ve seen how public speaking can shake the very foundations of our beliefs and actions.
Myth #2: Talk is cheap
This is actually kind of true. Mere words are not enough. Talk without action can ring empty and hollow. So, why, then, bother saying anything at all — be it from a stage, a blog, or on television? Isn’t it better to simply sit down and shut your mouth?
Not necessarily. Words are powerful tools. They matter more than we realize.
Culture has made talk cheap. We’ve thrown away an educated vocabulary in exchange for hip idioms and catch phrases. But language can still motivate and mobilize.
In fact, the spoken word may be the most powerful medium we have.
Your words (when accompanied with action) can have an incredible impact. Don’t use them lightly.
Myth #3: Writers don’t need to be speakers
For the longest time, I thought: “Writers write. Speakers speak. Leave all that presenting stuff to people who are good at it.”
If I ever published a book, I would have to hire Sean Connery to do the audio version. I doubted I could ever be a great speaker, so I disqualified myself before I tried.
I was wrong.
Like any skill, public speaking can be developed. This was an empowering thought: realizing that just because I wasn’t born with a microphone attached to my lips that I could still be a speaker. You can, too.
So what are you waiting for?
Jeff Goins is a writer who lives in Nashville. You can follow his blog or connect with him on Twitter (@jeffgoins). Also, check out his newly-released eBook, You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One).