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Step Forward

Author: Scott Schwertly

Date Created: November 16th 2007
Last Updated: June 14th 2012

Scott SchwertlyScott Schwertly is a presentation expert. He has spent the last eight years working for television network affiliates helping them create story-telling visuals and has worked in marketing for both the private and public sector. Today, Scott works with a wide spectrum of clients that includes Silicon Valley start-ups, publishing houses, authors, and various companies throughout the world. Helping individuals and businesses build, design, and deliver captivating presentations is his passion.

He currently serves as both Founder and CEO of Ethos3 Communications – A Presentation Design and Training Company, and is the author of an award winning blog - Presentation Revolution and a Top 100 ChangeThis.com manifesto. Scott has a B.A. in Communications and an M.B.A. from Harding University.

Medy was a shy girl who was always taught by her classmates to step back and was continually reminded of her inadequacy to succeed. She was the youngest of three children and self-conscious of the poverty that immersed her. Even so, a lack of possessions was replaced with an abundance of love. Life was tough for Medy, but her mother’s unyielding love and support always reminded her that there was more to life beyond the walls of the poverty stricken Philippine town she called home.

The day started like every other day. Medy’s mother, Asuncion, and her two siblings woke-up early and wished their father Reynaldo blessings as he left for work. Medy’s older brother and sister soon left for school. Everything was normal until the noon hour.

After visiting with a nearby friend, Asuncion came home stating that she did not feel well. She called for young Medy who then laid with her on their hard wooden floor. Asuncion died in her child’s lap. Medy then made a decision that day that these crippling circumstances would not dictate her.

Helpless and alone, Medy could only press forward. Years later, she would find herself living a lavish life in a place where dreams do come true – the United States of America. She took a risk. She overcame her fear, scars, and inadequacies. She stepped forward.

Medy is my mother.

We all will face a time in life where we become fearful. For a majority of people, that time comes when speaking publicly. Dale Carnegie in his book, How to Develop Self-Confidence & Influence People by Public Speaking, highlights how a graduate of a public speaking course once said, “Two minutes before I begin, I would rather be whipped than start; but two minutes before I finish, I would rather be shot than stop.” Imagine how you could change your life by stepping forward with confidence and no fear. Here are some quick tips to help equip you:

A fear of public speaking is healthy

Many people fear public speaking more than dying. It is an unfortunate reality that haunts even the most confident and extroverted personalities. Why this fear? Maybe it is a negative childhood association – maybe it’s nerves – maybe it’s a fear of rejection. No matter the case, fear can quickly become a handicap if not handled appropriately. Rest assured, studies show that 70-80% of students enrolled in a Public Speaking 101 class are fearful. Those fears obviously diminish with continued practice, but they can seem debilitating in the beginning. Having fear shows that you care. Use it to your advantage.

Fear is your friend

In the words of success coach Tony Robbins, “make fear a counselor and not a jailer.” Fear can be your friend. It is a nervous system reaction that can alert you when something is not correct and a change needs to take place. In regards to public speaking, that needed change could be building better content, developing confidence in your slides, or practicing more often. Remember, success comes when opportunity meets preparation. When dealing with fear you need to acknowledge it, harness it, and use it as your ally. If you use it in the right way, it can give you an edge.

Public speaking is abnormal

No one is born a great speaker. Period. Granted, people are blessed with certain strengths in the area of public speaking, but every great speaker has worked hard to become the influential person or legacy that we see. Public speaking takes practice. It takes diligence. You can’t become a great speaker overnight. Conquer your fear and you are closer to developing unbreakable confidence. You need to step forward. Trust me. You’re not going to want to step back once you get started.

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