Public Speaking is Like Riding a Bike

 Trumans first day riding a bike

Trumans first day riding a bike

My son, Truman, age 7 just learnt how to ride a bike – yippee!

He took his feet off the ground and free wheeled down a hill at Center Parks in Thetford Forest, 2 hours from our home in London. I am still crying with tears of joy because it was such a painful process.  We are proper townies and don’t have our own bikes in London. (I know!)

Only the day before he shouted angrily …

“I HATE bikes, I want to burn every single bicycle in the world, I will NEVER be able to do it!”

He was so frustrated and HATED failing each time he fell down. 

It makes me laugh now because it reminds me of my many clients who have the same fears about public speaking..

“I HATE public speaking!

I will NEVER be able to get up in front of an audience and speak in public, I’d rather die!”

 Sound familiar? Well that was how I felt about it a few years back too.

Ha ha now I know the truth. Never say never! 

I have taken many clients, just like my son Truman on that journey of stepping outside their comfort zone and hey presto…..

Look, no hands I’M DOING IT!”

The morning Truman took his feet off the ground was the morning I told him,

“You just need to tell yourself you are going to do it, you know you can do it!” (Yes, I do sometimes coach my kids and occasionally they do listen!)

The straw that broke the camel’s back for Truman to nudge him into action was when two -5 year old kids on ‘My Little Pony’ style two-wheelers (no stabilizers in sight) whizzed passed with a chirpy ding ding (to rub it in).

How come they could do it?  They were younger, less experienced and didn’t look like they were struggling! 

Well here’s the good news.

You can do almost anything if you put your mind to it.

But here’s the reality check.  You need to want to do it, and you need to be willing to put in the effort and let yourself venture outside your comfort zone.  You also need to be willing to be imperfect.

Just like riding a bike, you need to practice and physically experience it in order to overcome your anxiety to speak in front of an audience.

You can’t read a book about the theory of riding a bike and expect to be able to hop on and balance, just like that.  You have to actually feel it in practice which does require a few oops, ouches and eeks along the way.

So here’s my challenge for you.

No matter how terrifying, unconfident or wobbly you feel about public speaking, you will get the hang of it if you keep having a go.

You know it will enhance your career and will help you be seen as a leader and an influencer, so it’s time. Yes, it really is time to get practicing. 

Get on your bike.

Start with Training Wheels First

Start small, then slowly start to speak in front of larger groups of people.  Keep going, get up and dust yourself off.

There’s more good news.  As soon as you get back on the saddle and start riding again – you can improve super fast.

You need to find an audience, like Truman’s grassy hill at Center Parcs to practice on , then let go….woooooo weeeeee go on! 

You’ll feel so great when you achieve something you thought you’d NEVER be able to do.

You’ve got to let go …and believe!

If you need me to help you & your team take those stabilizers off and get speaking in front of larger audiences and transform your profile and your business,  please email me esther@estherstanhope.com I’d love to hear more.

 “Esther helped me go from nervous and worried about public speaking to nailing it! It has been a game changer for me personally and for my status in the market, which has led to more business for the bank. Esther is brilliant, I thoroughly recommend her.”

Head of Professional Services (at a major global bank), London

patrick Volavka