I was perusing the latest edition of Men’s Journal when I came across an interview with Anderson Cooper. I enjoy Anderson’s speaking style – he appears confident, is conversational and has great control and is masterful in his use of paralanguage while reporting.
Imagine my surprise to read that Anderson Cooper, who presents in front of millions and millions of people (indirectly) everyday, prime-time, has struggled with…. a fear of public speaking? The same anxiety-inducing phobia that millions of people (including me) have had to, or currently, deal with every day?
AC: On a more ridiculous level, public speaking. Being on camera is easy for me, but speaking in front of several thousands of people, it’s a different skill set. Making speeches gave me a nervous pit in my stomach, so I forced myself to do it: I gave the commencement address at Tulane in front of 12,000 people. And it was fine.
I give Anderson tremendous credit for a) admitting a phobia publicly and b) for finishing his answer with the truth – and it was fine. With practice and preparation, it usually is.
The reality is that 99.9% of the time, all of the nightmare scenarios you envision the night before your presentation will not come true (with practice and preparation). Additionally, when you present, you almost always feel much more nervous than he or she appears. You really don’t appear to your audience to be as nervous as you feel inside.
Stay tuned, next post will be a summary of what to do when the fear starts creeping in….