How do you feel about others judging you?
If you’re afraid of looking bad when speaking on stage or video, I have some good news for you.
The good news is, this is something that holds many people back. So you’re not alone.
With that in mind, I’m going to share with you five tips that are going to help you overcome that fear of looking bad, so you can give yourself permission to speak with confidence, share your message, and make a bigger impact.
5 Public Speaking Tips To Overcome The Fear Of Being Judged
Tip #1 – What’s The Big Picture?
The first tip is where you look at your situation and go, “Okay, in terms of the big picture, bad is better than nothing.“
Bad is better than nothing
It’s where you acknowledge that you’re at least putting yourself out there.
There are so many people that get paralyzed by their fear of looking bad that they never even get started – I’ll give you an example:
I had a client that, when we first started working together, had 200 videos recorded and uploaded on to YouTube. However, they all were listed as private because she was too afraid to make them go public – out of fear that they’d look bad and that people would judge her for it.
It was taking up so much mental capacity in her mind – with thoughts of fear and resentment swirling around her head because she was just angry and frustrated that she had all these videos created and all she had to do was put it out there and go public, but found herself paralyzed with fear.
So, the first thing is to acknowledge and recognise that bad is better than nothing because at least you’ll be in the game and you’ll be getting started.
Give yourself permission to put yourself out there and to get started on this journey – because you’ll be miles ahead of everyone else that has a fear of public speaking.
Tip #2 – Progress VS Perfection
Oftentimes people get caught in this perfectionist trap where they sit there and go:
- “If it’s not absolutely dialed-in, or if I don’t say everything exactly how I want, then I won’t put myself out there.“
If that’s you, again, realise that bad is better than nothing and that progress is better than perfection – because perfection will never exist.
I’m not immune to perfectionist tendencies either, but over time, I’ve learned to record, upload and share videos in spite of them.
This has happened to me for many years – and every year I look back at what I recorded previously and I go, “I can’t believe I put that out there.“
Realize that it’s a constant and never-ending improvement process.
And learn to embrace whatever you’re doing right now by telling yourself:
- “Okay, this is the best that I can do today. That’s all that matters.”
- “I’m doing the best that I can today”
- “Perfection doesn’t exist, but every day I’m making progress and I’m moving towards my goals.“
Tip #3 – See Yourself As An Inspiration
The third technique is about shifting your mindset around so that you see yourself as an inspiration; a role model rather than a subject of criticism.
Now it may seem implausible for you to suddenly see yourself that way, but bear with me for a moment as I explain.
The fear of public speaking is one of the most common fears – so many people want to put themselves out there, either on stages or on a video, but the fear of looking bad is stopping them.
So every time you get up on stage or choose to present to video, you’re becoming a role model for everybody else that’s afraid to get started.
They’re going to look at you and go:
- “Okay, well if you’re doing it, then I can do it too.“
When you start to take that on as part of your identity, what’ll happen is more often than not, it’s going to give you more courage to start putting yourself out there.
The language patterns inside your mind start changing to:
- “Okay, I might be scared. I might be afraid it’s going to look bad. But somebody’s going to watch me and it’s going to inspire them to give themselves permission to put themselves out there too.”
Every time you press record, every time you put the video out there, every time you step on that stage, that you’re on that panel, that you speak up in a board or meeting – you are inspiring people and showing them that it’s safe to put themselves out there.
And that’s part of the bigger goal – my own personal mission is to shift the fear of public speaking on a large scale (which is the number one most common fear there is) so that it becomes normal for people to speak in public.
See, the thing is when we were born, we were all freely self-expressed.
I have two nieces, a four and a six-year-old, and they just speak without any filter with the aim of just having fun. And there’s much we can learn from them.
See when you came into this world, you had no filter; no fear.
But then over time, you had a few setbacks and as a result, you started to hold yourself back.
You started to form a lot of fear about what people are going to think, how they’re going to judge you, and you started to become afraid of looking bad.
What needs to happen is you need to shift this around and reclaim your voice, reclaim your power, and share your message.
And a good way is to do it for somebody else.
Because it’s much easier to let yourself down than it is to let someone else down.
Every time you step on stage and start to feel the fear of judgment, think about a family member or someone that you care for; someone that looks up to you and to whom you will be a role model every time you put yourself out there.
Tip #4 – Accept That People Are Going To Judge You
Your fears of being judged, in a way, are justified.
Yes, people are going to judge you.
But they’re going to judge you regardless of whether your presentation’s amazing or not so great.
People have judgments all over the place and that’s okay.
Now, I remember a story when I started my YouTube channel:
My first videos were rough – the lighting was off, the video was off, the sound was off. Everything was off. But despite that, I put those videos out there.
And upon coming across one of these videos one of my close clients called me and said, “Lucas, are you sure you want to do this? Because people could look at it and go like, ‘Eh, I don’t know if I want to work with this guy.‘”
And I said, “Look, I totally understand. I agree with you, and it may cost me some clients, but the bigger win is the personal victory; that I’m doing this to put myself out there, knowing that there’s so many different mistakes that I need to change and fix moving forward.“
Focus on the internal wins rather than the external outcomes.
The second part of this is that by putting out bad videos, it becomes very inspiring for people, because down the line they’re going to go, “Oh wow, this is how he/she started. And if he/she started with these shitty videos, then I can get started with my shitty videos.“
It’s a big piece of permission that moves them forward.
So again, yes, people are going to judge you regardless of what you do, so embrace it.
People are going to judge you regardless of what you do, so embrace it
Put yourself out there, and trust that the right clients (the ones that are ideal for you) are going to love you, and they’re going to want to know more and to work with you.
Tip #5 – It’s Not About You. It’s About The Audience.
These fears that you have of looking bad, of sounding stupid – the’yre all ego-based; they’re all internal.
- How am I going to look?
- How am I going to think?
All this kind of stuff.
But instead of making it about you, shift your focus to the audience.
- What is the transformation that you want them to have?
- How do you want them to feel when they’re watching your videos?
- What impact do you want your presentation to make?
Every time you notice your own ego and insecurities coming up, shift your focus to the audience.
One thing that commonly happens is we are our own worst critic.
The inner critic is very, very loud. It’s constantly in your head, telling you why you’re not good enough.
But when you take a step back, you’ll realize that people aren’t going to judge you as hard as you judge yourself.
People aren’t going to judge you as hard as you judge yourself
To deal with this, there are 3 steps to take:
- Realise that “Okay, I am my own worst critic. Great.“
- Start reinforcing what you do well (i.e. what I call ‘stacking your wins’)
- Realise that people aren’t going to look at your presentation under the same microscope as you
Here’s a story from when I was just starting off that you might resonate with:
When I was starting off, I was hesitant about putting myself out there.
I had a friend of mine who was a marketer and he sat back with me, and he’s like, “Look. Imagine that there’s some teenager out there that’s struggling, feeling stressed out and anxious, and they have no hope.”
He’s like, “Do you think they care about your lighting, or the sound, or the camera that you’re using? Or do you think they just want to know that they’re not alone and that they have some hope?“
And boy, I’ll tell you, that one really cut deep, because as I thought about it, I realised I was letting all my own fears and insecurities hold me back from my mission, which was about helping other people to uplift their lives and to become a better version of themselves.
So make it about other people. Show up, realise that they’re not going to judge you as much as you judge yourself, and add value.
When you do that, that’s when you’ll start to speak with confidence and build deeper connections with your audience.
Level Up Living
P.S. If you’d like the fast path to speak with confidence, here are 3 ways I can help you:
- Grab a free copy of my ‘6 Steps To Speak With Confidence’ guide
It’s the 6-step process I use to take clients from anxious on stage to rock-solid confidence — Click Here
- Join the ‘Art Of Confident Speaking’ and connect with leaders who are improving too
It’s our new Facebook community where smart leaders learn to level up their insight, impact and influence — Click Here
- Join my 3-day ‘Speak With Confidence Program’ and become a Case Study
It’s the fastest way to become a confident communicator… If you’d like to work with me and a small group of highly motivated leaders like yourself — Click Here