One helpful way to start taking action is to be held accountable with your commitment to overcome this fear. Accountability will eliminate the time and effort you spend on unproductive behavior, leading to procrastination.
Creating and establishing accountability doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out process. Your accountability partner could be your friend, colleague, boss, spouse or even a social media contact you made online.
On a structured timeline, you can report on each and every step. Accountability partners will help you reach your goals more quickly and help build a more strengthened version of yourself.
Here’s an example of a plan (hierarchy) of taking action:
- Look online for a forum or a private Facebook group with people who share the same fear.
- Find a local support group or a group in general (search on Meetup.com) that may require you to speak in front of a small group or introduce yourself.
- Visit your local Toastmasters club just to check it out. You don’t have to speak or join. Simply go and observe to determine if the club is a good fit for you. If not, and it seems like people don’t understand the fear of speaking, there may be other clubs nearby to check out.
- The next step at Toastmasters are brief impromptu speaking exercises called “Table Topics”. Membership is usually not required to participate in Table Topics.
- Sign up officially to become a member. The rates are very reasonable and a 6-month commitment at most clubs.
- Start with the smaller roles and work your way up to giving speeches. You are able to move at your own pace and nothing is forced upon you.
Take on the smaller roles that will hold you most accountable such as setting up the room, bringing supplies, or taking meeting minutes. If you know that fellow members are counting on you, you are much more likely to attend consistently.
You may even find an accountability partner at Toastmasters that shares a similar goal. Most clubs offer a mentor for members.
Then take it out into the “real world”:
- Contribute in a work, academic, or volunteer meeting. Ask a question or make a statement. Increase your participation at each meeting.
- Offer to do something at work, school or in your community that involves you taking on a leadership role of speaking.
This may seem overwhelming at first, but in small steps, your confidence will build and your fear will fade.
Now is the time to change. The key is to start before you think you’re “ready”!
How about with a workshop, book or audio guide?
The Getting Over Stage Fright Workshop, founded by Janet Esposito, LCSW, has been going strong for 20 years. It is based on Janet’s best-selling books on Amazon and her CD: In The SpotLight: Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking and Performing; In The SpotLight: Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking and Performing and In The SpotLight: Guided Exercises to Create a Calm and Confident State of Mind, Body, & Spirit While Speaking or Performing (also available on iTunes) with meditation, power statements, and much more, specific to the fear of public speaking.
The workshop is distinct from other programs in its exclusive focus on the fear and anxiety associated with speaking, rather than on teaching specific presentation skills, such as those at Toastmasters’ clubs or Dale Carnegie courses. The shift occurs when your perspective changes and you have the opportunity to practice the tools in Janet’s books in a supportive environment.
The alternative to this workshop is likely 4-6 months of weekly exercises, making very slow progress, on a one-to-one basis with a mental health professional who can’t relate to your fear. At the workshop, you’ll have lots of individual attention and share with group members who understand, inspire and motivate you while practicing your new tools together. This intensity of the experience simply cannot be created elsewhere.
Come and see for yourself how your future life decisions will come from a mindset of choice rather than avoidance. Schedule a quick call with me to discuss more.
More details here!