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  • Public Speaking: Turning My Fear Into Fulfillment

    Fear of public speaking comes very close to the fear of death; Comedian Jerry Seinfeld mentioned it during one of his shows. For Seinfeld it may not be as bad, but for me it was always a big fear and I never really dared to be the lonely one at the podium. As a coach I thought all I would be doing is deep, meaningful conversations with one person at a time. But alas, when I wanted to grow the business people told me that I needed to speak, not just with one person, in front of a group. “No, that is not an option” – was my immediate reaction. I consoled myself, “May be I will write instead”. I wrote blogs before so that plan B seemed more doable.

    After a while it started bugging me… I was avoiding something because of my fear. I remembered, I really enjoyed some of the seminars/workshops I had attended,  it would be wonderful if I can do such great work one day. That seemed like a vision I felt genuinely excited about. I decided to take some baby steps. I went to the toastmasters, hired a coach, conducted small scale tele-seminars, webinars, in person seminars. Every time I stretched and  learned a little more. Some fear was always there but I chose to go ahead anyway.

    Fast forward two years. Last week I was giving my career vision workshop at a local tech company. I was totally in my zone. It felt like a dance to me. I was well prepared and at the same time I was spontaneous. Two hours flew by, not a single minute felt awkward in that room. I was so present that I even shared this experience with the participants when one asked what a vision should look like. Was it a magic or something else? Last few days I gave it a thought and identified a few elements that contributed to this wonderful experience for me:

    1. I Related Well With the Audience

    Having a similar career background I was able to relate very well with my audience. I felt their pain, I spoke their language (or sometimes the lack thereof :)).

    2. I Prepared Well

    This workshop has evolved so much in the last two years. Every time, I learned from the participants’ responses and from their feedback. I tweaked the examples and brought new ones. Even that morning before I delivered my session, I came up with recent most stories to share with my audience. Now that I have the core contents ready, I am more relaxed and much more creative with it.

    My original fear mostly came from this question- “What is the value add for the audience”? For any seminar/workshop I make sure I have an answer for it.

    3. I Aligned It with My Values

    From the very beginning, I honored and respected my own values of keeping it simple, meaningful and fun. I sometimes try new things, give choices to my audience – experimenting and collaborating goes very well with my innate values.

    Looking back, I see all of these were possible because I wanted to be in front of  such a group of people. The day I got in touch with the excitement to inspire others with my work, it started to steer me out that blocking fear. Not merely overcoming the fear, it guided my energy towards the ideal of an excellent public speaker I envisioned to be.

    Sharmin Banu  is a development partner for high performers who wants to have more Growth, Purpose and Joy for their work and lives. On top of her coach training, a deep eastern cultural background and a 12-year of high tech corporate experience give her a unique position of learning what blocks people to move up in their career path and what helps them to excel. She is very passionate about helping professionals so they can honor their core selves and leverage those to thrive and succeed in the high paced corporate culture and have more fulfillment from their lives. Sharmin’s clientele  is mostly high-tech professionals in the mid-level in their career. Sharmin and her husband have a young daughter and lives in Kirkland WA. Sharmin loves to stay in touch with her friends and the extended family.

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