Picture yourself at the front of a room, before a waiting audience. You have a script in hand and slides queued up. As you’re about to speak, you hear voices start to heckle you.
“You’re gonna forget your lines!”
“They’re waiting for you to screw up!”
“They’re gonna ask you questions you can’t answer!”
“You’re gonna ruin your reputation!”
This is the worst possible heckler. It’s the one…
Inside your head.
Welcome to the world of public speaking anxiety, home of the “Inner Heckler.” If you haven’t discovered how to manage this voice, it shows up at every presentation. It distracts you from your message and your audience. It traps you in a loop of self-doubt and apprehension.
Worse, it causes you to question your ability to speak publicly. It loudly predicts every potential pitfall, drowning out your intended message and ruining your presentation.
The Inner Heckler isn’t just a temporary nuisance; its a long-lasting and pervasive enemy. As a business leader or executive, this can lead to missed opportunities. It can cost you influence and personal growth, and damage your reputation.
For sales teams, it can mean botched pitches and lost clients.
Nice Try, But…
Many people often resort to the following measures to silence their Inner Heckler.
- Positive Affirmations: While well-intentioned, repeating “I am a great speaker” doesn’t give you the tools you need to be one.
- Avoiding Eye Contact: Not looking at your audience may give you a feeling that you’ll be less judged. But, eye contact is one of the key connections you need to build trust and effectively engage people.
- Speeding Through The Material: The quicker you get it over with, the better, right? Wrong. This robs your audience of valuable content and can leave you feeling discouraged and mentally drained.
- Relying On Slides: Slides can make you feel safe, like you’re taking focus off yourself. You’re not. In most cases, you’re creating a barrier between you and the listener. Reading from your PowerPoint isn’t much different than sending out a PDF — which is preferable because it takes less time for your audience to read that.
Each of these may briefly make you feel better, but they won’t quiet the Inner Heckler; they often make the voice louder by adding new failures to your experience.
How Have You Handled Your Inner Heckler?
If you’ve dealt with that negative inner voice, how have you handled it?
What were the results?
If you’re still struggling with an Inner Heckler, are you ready to find a real solution?
I’ve helped other business leaders, professional speakers, and TEDx speakers become more confident and influential presenters.
Schedule a short ZOOM call to discuss how to replace your negative internal monologue with confident, clear, and impactful communication skills. (click here).
Your Inner Heckler doesn’t have to have the last word. Let’s talk to figure out how to silence it once and for all, so you can speak up and be heard and remembered.