Public Speaking Freaks Me Out

Public speaking freaks me out. 

It's not the thought of speaking publicly that freaks me out or even that actual speaking itself. I have been offering myself up for speaking opportunities more often lately. But lo and behold, someone takes me up on the offer and then, well, the freak out begins. It goes something like this:

Someone asks if I'd be interested in speaking. Even though it seems as though every fiber in my body tells me to run, I don't.  I say yes. I get the gig. 

I freak out.

What was I thinking. I can't do this. I don't know anything. I'll run out of things to say. I'll disappoint xxx. Everything, and I mean everything, rides on this one presentation. (A little drama, right?)

Need. Data. Now. I scour the internet for expert sources. I frantically try to build data depository so I can know absolutely everything. I pace. I scrible. I outline. I revise.

Then I stop.

I pull out Organization and Presentation Tips by Garr Reynolds of Presentation Zen. I touch the pages and begin to settle down. I move through the tips one by one, jot ideas down one by one . . . and then "it" appears.

"It" is a perspective, a quote, or an idea that resonates with me. "It" is a story only I can tell. "It" allows me to focus and let the fun begin.

I am calm.

And I'll be that way until the night before the presentation. Yes, even though I said that actual speaking doesn't freak me out - it does. It's a mind game I play with myself. It doesn't work.

So, how do you control - or silence - your public speaking freak out?

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