Are you scared of presenting? Need a kick up the pants?

compassionI was working with a private client the other day and he was explaining how the time had come for him to tackle his presenting demons and start putting himself forward for presentations and meetings where what he had to say would make a difference. I much admired his determination and was certainly struck by the way that suddenly the message had become much stronger than the ‘fear’ and now was His Time.

What also struck me though, was the language he used in reference to himself.  ‘About time I kicked myself up the pants’ he said. ‘ Need to pull my finger out’ he added. ‘ This is ridiculous, I am stupid, letting this get in my way’.  I wonder if you have used similar language to yourself?  Or heard others do so?

You see, this client is a kind and supportive man in a senior position and known and respected for his mentoring and encouragement of his team.  So why was he using such harsh and unkind language to himself when he wouldn’t have dreamt of saying that to someone else?

In ‘The Charisma Myth’ by Olivia Fox Cabane , she talks about three concepts which I find particularly relevant to speaking in public.  Firstly she explains about self-confidence – our belief in our ability to do or learn how to do something.  Secondly she talks about our self-esteem – how much we approve of or value ourselves.  This is often a comparison based on some sort of evaluation.  And thirdly she talks about self-compassion.  How much warmth we can have for our selves when we are going through a difficult experience.  Sometimes people lack self-confidence – they haven’t discovered yet how to learn this skill) Sometimes it is not self-confidence it is self esteem (will people really want to hear from little ol’ me?)

In the case of my client, he had a high level of self-confidence (i.e. I can learn how to do this thing!) and a high level of self esteem (I value what I can offer) but a low level of self-compassion.  And it was that low level of self-compassion that was holding him back from the support and encouragement he badly needed to make progress.

If you would like to talk to Catherine about your experiences of presenting, then please call 07946604859 or email on   And comment below as well.

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