Whenever I start to work with a self-described “nervous Nelly†or “nervous Ned,†a question I always ask is this: “Would you say you are a selfish person?â€Â  Surprisingly, some folks do tell me straight up that they do see themselves as selfish! But most quickly respond that they are not selfish.

I go on to say that when we allow nerves to get in the way of sharing our expertise and passion, when we fail to practice sufficiently to become totally at ease with the material, or when we don’t bother to prepare at all, we are, in fact, being selfish.

What happens when we allow our nerves to rule is that we are thinking only of ourselves, and our feelings, instead of the value of what we are sharing with others. If you believe that you are, indeed, an expert, or that the direction you want to take an organization is right, or the cause you are supporting is worth it, then you have the right – the obligation – to get out of your own way!

In a similar vein, I believe people are being self-centered when they attend a networker and don’t make an effort to talk with people they don’t know. An exercise I recommend to new speakers  to help overcome their public speaking fear is to practice being the first to initiate the conversation with strangers at a networker or party.

Always have a question ready to ask the new contacts about their business or interests in addition to being ready to share a little about your position and organization. Why? You make a better impression when you appear interested in them rather than simply being interesting yourself. In future blogs, I’ll introduce you to the steps of putting together an Elevator Pitch for yourself and your business.


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