I am a software developer turned startup founder who is good at executing things. One thing I dread though is speaking in front of an audience, no matter how big or small.
This is holding me back from going out to raise seed funding for my business. I dread giving a pitch to a investors in person.
What are some suggestions on overcoming this?
Imagine all the investors in their underwear.
Jokes aside, here are some tips that have helped me over the years...
1. Tackle the root cause. The root cause of being scared of public speaking is that you are judging yourself, not your presentation.
Best way to overcome that: EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). Warning: EFT might seem like hippy-science at first. But just give it a serious try. It's been truly life changing for me. Here are some videos on YouTube that give you an introduction to what it is:
I would also recommend watching the EFT documentary, The Tapping Solution.
2. Visualize yourself succeeding. While standing in front of a mirror, go through every step of the speech, from entering the room to an applause at the end.
3. Start with humor. It puts both you and the audience at ease. You will also be more persuasive by starting off this way. End with humor as well.
4. Realize that your time on this earth is finite. Quote from Steve Jobs:
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.
Almost everything--all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure--these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
5. Eat a clean diet. A long term item to look at is your diet. What you eat has a tremendous effect on how your body chemistry works. Eating healthy will elevate your mood and give you more confidence.
6. Understand what courage really is. Courage is not the absence of fear. It's doing the task in spite of fear. Everyone feels insecure to some degree. The first step towards taming the beast is accepting it's presence.
There is never a point where you will become the perfect speaker. It's a life long process of improving yourself.