Recently on CBS Sunday Morning, Lesley Stahl interviewed three actresses starring in the new Showtime series The First Lady. Gillian Anderson said that Eleanor Roosevelt, who she plays, hated public speaking.
But “Roosevelt did it anyway because she believed that what she had to say was so much more important than anything that was going on with her fears and self-doubt.” That grit prompted Roosevelt to write her own material and deliver speeches all over the world. She was also the first woman to speak in front of a national convention, write a syndicated column, earn money as a lecturer, be a radio commentator and hold regular press conferences.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve conducted trainings in New Jersey, Colorado and New Mexico. In every session, participants shared their speaker anxiety and avoidance of the spotlight. Although this condition is real, we know that solid technique allows anyone to manage their fears and deliver effectively in any venue. But first one must adopt Eleanor Roosevelt’s philosophy and decide whether fear or accomplishment will prevail.
Focus on what you want to achieve, or your intention for each presentation. Let Roosevelt’s success be the key to extinguishing your anxiety. Grit and determination can always overcome fear.