Public Speaking: 3 Fears that Keep Leaders Playing Small (& How to Play Bigger)-Part 1

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Grow Big in your Vision

Public Speaking fears keep people playing small.  They hold competent people back from sharing their gifts with people who are waiting to hear and learn from them.  Do these 3 fears keep you playing small (hold you back from fully expressing your unique gifts) when you visualize yourself sharing your unique message in a public speaking format?

3 Public Speaking Fears that Keep you Playing Small

  1. Making mistakes in front of others.  We hear our inner critics warn us against being judged.  “You should have done this better.  You should have done this perfectly.
  2. Trying something new. If you are spurred to move beyond your speaking fears, it means trying something new. Learning new speaking skills; practicing different behaviors.  It’s scary because it’s new even if it’s HEALTHY.  Our conditioned selves want to be comfortable and stay the same even it’s UNHEALTHY.
  3. Not getting a return on investment.  If you put in the effort, practice, and give your presentation, you risk unmet expectations.   You risk the outcome being different than what you expected.

Public speaking fears hold you back.  They keep you “playing small”. It’s critical to heal these fears—so you can shine your light and FINALLY be visible to your ideal audiences.  Let’s take a further look at how to move beyond these 3 public speaking fears.

How to Move Beyond your Public Speaking Fears

  1. Grow into the bigness of your your gifts and your vision. Be open to the discomfort that it will cause.  Your smaller self/your conditioned self wants things to stay the same. Be willing to endure the discomfort temporarily.  Once you take steps to share your talents, experience, and personality with larger groups, you’ll see that the temporary discomfort was well worth it.
  2. Re-frame the way you view “mistakes”. Get used to looking at new situations as learning experiments. There are many quotes about successful famous people who’ve made a lot of “mistakes.” They use them to learn what works and what to change if it doesn’t work.


Fears of public speaking keep people playing small.  They stifle people’s expression of their unique gifts.  The result is that other people miss out on what they offer.  These fears include making mistakes, trying something new, and not getting a return on the investment that it takes to successfully prepare to publicly speak.

Shift past your fears by re-framing the way you view mistakes, and growing into your big vision. Endure the temporary discomfort of stepping into new territory and behaviors, and making mistakes. By moving beyond your fears, you expose the truth hidden behind the lies your conditioned self tells you-that you’ll be hurt and will be unsuccessful in your public speaking experiences. Take a chance, do the experiment-get out there and speak! You’ll be surprised at how empowered you become.

To your success in moving beyond your public speaking fears,



Bonnie NussbaumOctober 1st, 2014 at 11:07 am

I love the quote “grow into the bigness of your gifts and your vision”! Even if the first steps are tentative, they are still steps!!

MatejaOctober 1st, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Thanks for more great tips. I love your encouragement and inspiration that these challenges can be overcome.

Mateja Petje, LMFT

VeronicaOctober 1st, 2014 at 2:55 pm

The reframing of mistakes is so important! We can then begin to calm the harsh ego and accept support to go beyond! Viewed in this ways mistakes become stepping points for growth! Great blog post!

Vickie LegareOctober 1st, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Great blog Cher! You give such great encouragement on overcoming the fears related to public speaking.

Jill GreinkeOctober 1st, 2014 at 7:40 pm

Thanks for the great tips! You are very encouraging to help others overcome their fears.

Tina GamesOctober 1st, 2014 at 9:50 pm

Great blog post, Cher – and oh, so very true! ~ We have the most potential for growth OUTSIDE of our comfort zone – which requires us to do something we’ve not done before. It involves taking a risk – and being okay with the outcome, trusting that even the “mistakes” were worthwhile. ~ This reminds me of a quote I saw earlier today by Henry Ford, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” ~ Every “mistake” presents an opportunity to grow and expand – and I like how you’ve linked that to public speaking. ~ Thank you! 🙂

PatriciaOctober 2nd, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Great blog post Cher! I can relate to the fears, I’m working on them. One way is showing every week at my BNI meeting and talking in front of the group about my business…I think it’s getting a bit better, it;s like building a muscle, it requires practice. It’s also a learning experience. Thanks for sharing your wisdom! 🙂

Cher GundersonOctober 8th, 2014 at 8:18 pm

You’re very welcome 🙂 Congratulations on your perseverence and dedication to showing up at your BNI meetings! I’m so glad your communication is improving. A big factor is your confidence level. When your confidence level improves, that opens doors for refining your marketing message. It also works the opposite way.
To your continued success,
Cher 🙂

TeenaOctober 9th, 2014 at 10:51 pm

Great post Cher – As I grow into the bigness of my gifts and my vision I encourage myself to take chances – to live fully, live boldly, and with passion. To get messy and make mistakes! 🙂


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