Warren Buffett isn’t the only person to suffer from stage fright. Famous people like Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, and Joel Osteen all experienced the jitters while presenting to a crowd.
Their pitch anxiety didn’t stop them from reaching the peaks of their careers. Instead, they used it to motivate themselves to keep improving.
If these famous figures overcame their fear of public speaking, so can you. Stop anxiety by inspiring yourself with their stories.
Why were they afraid?
The reality is that many people struggle with performance anxiety. First, understand why you’re getting goosebumps before you can tame it. Let’s see if you share the roots of your fears with these famous pitch deck experts.
Winston Churchill is notable for his tenure as head of the British parliament. He’s admitted one flaw in his momentous career—he got frightened each time he delivered a speech. This stems from a particular speech impediment that makes him mispronounce the letter ‘s.’
The great American orator, Abraham Lincoln, had also experienced speech anxiety. This occurred when he was invited by the Republican political committee to deliver a keynote speech in New Jersey. Afraid of criticism, he abruptly declined the request.
Joel Osteen was famed for his devotional preaching in the United States. His evangelical mission started when his father died, leaving him no choice but to take over. This frightened him the week before his first sermon in 1999. He feared being negative compared to this father.
How did they overcome it?
Let’s look at how these prominent people conquered their public speaking anxiety:
Winston Churchill refused to see his speech impediment as a hindrance. He believed that there was nothing to fear but fear itself. He consulted a speech specialist and was advised to improve his speech with practice and perseverance. Afterwards, Churchill finally had the urge to overcome his anxiety. His unbridled enthusiasm helped immensely. He spent hours researching and rehearsing to ensure his best speech delivery.
“You are what you think,” Abraham Lincoln said. He reassured that his negative imagination towards himself was wrong and simply alienated him from effectively delivering his speech. Have you also felt this even once? Do not fear public speaking.
When Joel Osteen overheard negative comments about himself, he thought that he wasn’t good enough. He described himself as a horrible public speaker. He eventually used these labels as words of encouragement and empowerment, and eventually grew confident in speaking. “Wrong labels can keep you from your destiny,” he said.
Everybody gets stage fright, even reputable historical speakers. The next time you’re scared of being shamed, think of these public speakers’ horror stories. Let them guide you in curing your pitch anxiety and become a public speaking expert.
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Lampton, Bill. “How Professional Speakers Control Their Stage Fright.” Business Know-How. Accessed June 1, 2015.
“Presentation Skill: Using Nervousness to Your Advantage.” pitchdeck.com, July 3, 2015. Accessed June 1, 2015.