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Picture the audience naked… NOT!

Picture the audience naked… NOT!

March 11, 2018 2 Comments

Public Speaking Anxiety

If you are like me and three quarters of people on this planet, then you will relate to this topic. But I sure hope that your anxiety is not as exaggerated as the disturbing finding in this article: "Most women are more scared of public speaking than they are of death. Researchers who polled 2,000 women found many are far more at ease with meeting their maker than they are of standing in a room talking to an audience hanging on their every word."


It’s normal to be fearful. Fear is ok as long as you are determined to, in spite of it, put yourself out there in pursuit of your dreams and life goals.


I read that women tend to struggle with speaking in public more than men because of appearance and likability concerns. Putting that aside, here are some additional challenging attributes for me:

  1. Being a non-native English speaker
  2. Cultural challenges
  3. Shy personality
  4. Memory and focus challenges (as I get older!)
  5. Not to mention the uncontrollable body reactions which get triggered randomly: Face turning red, heart pounding, hands shaking!


Now off to the good part...

Last year I received many requests and opportunities to present in public and I was determined not to say no to any. I was a panelist at different events, presented often, sometimes in front of hundreds of people and managed to give an inspiring closing remark while going through a tough point in my career.
If I can do that, then anyone can too! The key to conquering your anxiety is simple. Don’t picture the audience naked, Prepare!

Before any event, I spend time thinking about the message, the tag line which I want people to leave with. I then build up my notes and stories from there. As I do that, I refine the tag line few times until I’m 100% satisfied with it. Then comes rehearsal. That super uncomfortable process of presenting to the walls, feeling so silly and hoping that my neighbors don't hear me (I live in a condo with poor sound insulation). I also attempt every now and then to rehearse in front of a mirror, only I get distracted by checking if I'm due for hair roots touchup or examining if I need a facial soon! 

blue-butterfly-growth-necklaceOn the day of, I give myself a boost of confidence and remind myself that I’ve been through so much more than speaking in front of a crowd. “Easy peasy” (for those who watched season 2 of Stranger Things). I also wear a piece of jewelry (often my Yara butterfly necklace) which reminds me that I am a strong woman and I can do anything I set my mind to.
Till now, my heart pounds as I get up on a stage or in front of a large audience, but with repetitions, I learned how to conquer that feeling and enjoy the experience instead.


Few thoughts to leave you with:

  1. Fear is not the enemy. Befriend that voice in your head and learn to negotiate with it.
  2. Prepare, prepare, prepare!
  3. Think about relatable stories you can share with your audience and pivot if you don’t see engagement.
  4. Don’t be afraid to be funny or vulnerable.
  5. I have yet to check out the Orai app it but it looks amazing.
  6. Give yourself a boost of self-confidence: A quick pep talk with yourself, an inspirational quote on your phone lock screen, or do like I do and wear something that reminds you of how awesome you are.


    Finally, and to my surprise, I’ve been told that I’m a great public speaker! Me!  If this is not evolution, what is?


    Sweet Yara – inspiring evolution, one beautiful dream at a time.

    Check out these inspirational jewelry pieces


    Gold Butterfly Necklace 

    2 Responses


    March 15, 2018

    Really motivating post! Makes me realize that with the proper preparation and mindset, it really is possible to give a great presentation. Keep up the awesome work.

    Zainab Aziz
    Zainab Aziz

    March 12, 2018

    It takes motivation and courage to chase your fears and stand in front of a large audience and it take confidence and humility at the same time to share your personal experience and how you were able overcome your anxiety Reem. Looking forward to reading the next post. Thanks for sharing!

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