As we take our first breaths it has been proven that we have two instinctive fears that are built in us to help survival, loud noises and falling, these two make complete sense although most of the other fears I come across these days really do not.

Last week me and my family went away with another family to Centre Parcs and whilst eating out one night the mother of the other family asked to move tables from the one we were sitting at as there was a birthday party on the next table, I personally thought she was being a bit of a fun sponge and asked the question why she insisted we moved? Her reply……… “I am scared of balloons” Now I really couldn’t hide my amusement as she went on to explain that she had a “phobia” of balloons, not them popping I might add, just the balloons themselves. So a 38 year old mother of two had just told me that her “kryptonite” was balloons? This prompted around the table chat about peoples biggest fears and just as I expected public speaking came out on top.

It is true that the three biggest fears in the U.K. are (in reverse order)

  1. Death
  2. Spiders
  3. Public speaking

That’s right most people would be rather be lying in the coffin than reading out the urology at a funeral and it has to be said that I too was one of these guys.

I fell at the final hurdle of the Apprentice delivering the WORST presentation you have ever seen in your life to 180 people in the room and over 9 million viewers on BBC1 literally choking on stage and falling apart, I realised then that the cocky market trader in me thought I would be amazing as I had the patter and interacted with people every day although getting up on that stage was a completely different ball game.

Wounded but not defeated I decided that there was no way that I was going to be remembered as the guy that couldn’t speak to a crowd, so I asked the BBC for the full video tape of my presentation so that I could work out exactly where it all went wrong for me, the two things that stood out straight away were

  1. I hadn’t practised
  2. I wasn’t being myself

These two things directly resulted in my failure.

I went back to the drawing board and from there built myself back up form zero, to speaking hero having now delivered my keynote in 4 different countries over 500 times and becoming a member of the Professional Speaking Association. I have now started to share the speaking skills I have learnt over the years with others and how I got over my fear of public speaking and learnt to harness the nerves it brought with it and turn that into positive energy.

The world we live in now requires us all to be confident speaking in public and to be able to get our point across, share our stories or sell an idea, weather that is at your next Market Traders Association meeting, pitching or presenting your idea, or maybe you even have a best mans speech or christening speech coming up, why not make 2016 the year that people sit back and listen to you for a change?

The more we face and overcome our fears to try new things the more opportunities will come our way and the more we will achieve.

I now run public speaking workshops all over the U.K. with proven results, full or half days available on a 121 basis right up to groups of a hundred so if you fancy mastering the skills to tell your story in style, start by getting in touch and telling it to me.