Are you too comfortable when you speak?
Considering that public speaking is most people’s number one fear (scaring us more than death itself) that may seem like a strange question. Believe it or not, it is possible to be too comfortable – depending on our speaking goals.
We can be in three zones when it comes to speaking (or refusing to) in public.
1 – The Fear Zone
“I hate it.” “Don’t make me.” “I’m scared shitless of it.” “I’d rather die” etc etc. If we’re in this zone we might refuse to speak in public…. possibly ever.
2 – The Comfort Zone
“I used to be scared.” “It’s fine.” “I’m pretty good at it.” “People tell me they understand me.” “I’m clear” etc. If we’re in this zone people may be able to comprehend what we’re saying, but they’re not compelled to listen. They will likely forget us when we’re done while remembering that other speaker from the conference who rocked the house.
3 – The Charisma Zone
It feels thrilling, exhilarating, and scare-citing. It’s like that first big drop on a giant roller coaster. “When I present, people laugh, cry or jump to their feet.” If we’re in this zone, we’re more focused on the experience our audience is having than our comfort. We want them to be moved emotionally. They may even feel seen, as if we were speaking directly to them. We will guide people to feel something, and they will remember us for that gift.
Which zone are you in right now? Fear, Comfort? Or Charisma?
Where do you want to be?
The vast majority of speakers focus on being comfortable.
But comfort and charisma cannot co-exist.
Sir Lawrence Olivier, one of the most talented, famous actors that ever lived, experienced “stage fright” every night before going on stage.
Steve Kerr, award-winning head coach of the reigning NBA
Champion Golden State Warriors, used the phrase “appropriate level of fear” about the reigning champions. They lose when they don’t have it and win when they do.
Fear is a name for sensations like rapid heart rate, sweaty palms, and increased adrenaline. We feel these things when we give a damn about something. Excitement is another term for those same experiences – it’s all a matter of how we look at it.
You know what else describes those very same sensations? Charisma …
(when we know how to harness all that stuff)
So … What are your goals for speaking?
Do you want to survive the experience? Or do you want to thrive?
Do you want to relay information clearly? Or do you want to move people (to laughter, to tears, or to action?)
Do you want to unleash your inner badass speaker (YOUR unique version of what MLK, Tony Robbins, and Barack Obama have/d.)
Do you want to be good? Or do you want to be great?
Do you simply want to make money? Or do you want to change the world while you’re doing it?
If you’re in your comfort zone and that’s where you want to be, mazel tov! You’ve reached your goal and you now can sit back and drink a glass of wine. The Warriors drank a lot of champagne after winning last year’s championship. If they didn’t want more, they could still be sipping away. But the Warriors want even MORE. So they have to figure out how to get their care on again and have that appropriate level of fear … for every single game.
If you, like the Warriors, want even more … if you want to move into your Charisma Zone, then start experimenting with speaking with an “appropriate level of fear”. (a.k.a. an appropriate level of sensation.) Find your thrill ride. Rather than shutting down or responding habitually, try this: Stay open. Breathe Deep. Let it feel like a roller coaster. If your journey isn’t a wild and exciting ride, it won’t be for the audience either. Focus on what you want for THEM. What do you want them to feel when you speak? Then leap into the unknown and, like a trail-blazing adventure guide, take them with you on the journey.
If you want to help change the world – one meeting, one class, one speech at a time – this is the pathway to do that. It’s SOOOO worth it.
With passion & love,
PS – If you want to know more about the Charisma Zone, sign up for my FREE Webinar – Charisma Unmasked on Tuesday February 13th.