Authors are you afraid of public speaking?
The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public. – George Jessel
I just got off the phone with an author signed to my publishing company and I was literally in tears laughing as we discussed her fear of radio interviews. I don’t know why I found this so funny but her and I shared a big laugh around this fear of public speaking because on some level I’m sure most of us can relate. I know I can.
She understands that publicity is essential to the success of her book, but she’s also paralyzed by this fear of public speaking. This fear renders her helpless as her voice trembles and her thoughts become jumbled at the thought of answering random questions live for the benefit of a listening audience.
Public speaking is the art of diluting a two-minute idea with a two-hour vocabulary. – Evan Esar
A fear of public speaking is very common even amongst people who aren’t writers. Some people experience this at school or even in their workplace. So, I regularly advise aspiring writers in the workshops I facilitate, to give some thought to getting over this fear if they possess it. As authors we are required to do book signings, television, radio and magazine interviews and all of these can be especially nerve wrecking for someone who has a fear of public speaking.
My first time dealing with this type of fear was when I was a little girl. I was enrolled in Suzuki (classical piano instruction) and from time to time we’d have piano recitals. I would be fine when I was at home practicing Beethoven and Mozart. I would practice for hours and know the song perfectly, but as soon as I stepped foot on stage, it would all go away. Sure I’d be able to get through the song, but not with the ease and familiarity I had in the comfort of my own home. Then a friend and I started performing during our high school years. That wasn’t so bad, except I’d have an extreme surge of adrenaline that I’d have to try and contain.
When I was first interviewed after becoming a published author, I experienced a similar nervousness but I was determined to not allow this fear to consume me. So I had a talk with myself. Yeah you read right. Sorry, sometimes we just have to CHECK ourselves. And that’s exactly what I did. I said, “Stefanie, you speak all the time and you don’t get nervous. You love to talk. As a matter of fact, that’s what you are probably most known for. So why are you nervous? Just talk, it will be okay.”
And for the most part, this has worked for me. So I’ve been trying to convince my author that she can overcome this! That its all in her head and that in order to get over her fear she needs to get out there and do more interviews. Much like, psychologists advise anyone who has a fear of something. But she’s not hearing it! LOL. So give me some tips, how have you overcome your fear of public speaking? Please share in the comment section below. And if you don’t feel any nervousness, wow kudos to you! Please share that as well.