I love running guest posts written by some of the amazing speakers I’ve met, either through my training or through Facebook! Today Kathryn Lang is going to share her practical thoughts on overcoming one of a speaker’s greatest fears: technology!
Two years ago the site of a microphone or a camera would send me screaming and running from the room. I wanted to be a speaker, but the tools and techniques of the trade were foreign to me. Even my years of stage acting did not give me any comfort when I crossed paths with a microphone. My fear of looking bad or making a mistake overpowered my desire to share.
The chance to speak online came up in 2008. I would not be in front of a crowd and I would not be standing in front of a microphone. It was the perfect answer. It was exciting to share my passion and my heart and I determined at that moment to make the changes that would give me the comfort and the confidence to overpower my fears.
Baby Steps to Overcome Fears
1. Use a microphone to get comfortable with the technology. I was forced to confront my fears when the leader of a meeting walked over to me and held the microphone in my face. “Can you close us in prayer?” I confess that my gut yelled, “NO!” I did manage to take a deep breath and share a short prayer with the crowd. It dawned on me that maybe the best way to develop a comfort with the microphone was to USE the microphone.
2. Practice your presentations with a pretend microphone so that you are comfortable with your gestures. Most people have given an acceptance speech or sang a few songs in the end of a hairbrush. It is the same principle. I talk with my hands so practicing with a microphone forces me to learn new ways of gesturing. I developed a habit of holding up the microphone in front of me while I speak so that I do not fade out to the crowd.
3. Accept that you are not perfect and realize that it is not as bad as you think it is. Mistakes happen, even with all of the practice in the world. The first presentation I tried to walk from one side of the stage to another, and could hear the feedback from the speakers. My stomach did flips – and it was flipping enough without that moment. I stepped back to the center of the stage and stayed closer to that point. It seemed like the end of the world for me, but even the sound booth could not hear the feedback.
4. Expect to be seen. Cameras do not sap my soul or steal my spirit. They do not even make me look bad. I have spent years fighting my weight and shying away from the camera. I may not be happy with where I am, but I have to find a joy in who I am until I get to where I am going. I determined that when I would see a camera I would simply expect that my picture would be taken and shared with others. I stand different and hold a pose until the camera moves on.
5. Seek out assistance from others with more experience. Talk to the band at church or even the pastor and find out how they learned to be comfortable in front of a mike. It was interesting to discover that many people I hear speak are just as nervous with the technology as I am.
6. Jump in with both feet. Ultimately the only way I ever got over the fear of the microphone was by standing up in front of a crowd and using a microphone. I discovered that the microphone does not bite. It does not scream. And despite what I have been told I am capable of talking with one hand.
My comfort level has grown – with both cameras and microphones. The more that I use both the more I know HOW to use both. I had a choice to allow fear to determine my path or to make the changes that would overcome the fear. My speaking opportunities are now coming about once a month and I know that I can deal with whatever microphone situation I face. It all starts with that first step. You will never reach your destination if you allow fear to keep you from that first step.
Kathryn Lang walks to the beat of her own drummer and sometimes her own band. Her unique walk was confirmed during bible study when the preacher asked what kind of people God calls us to be. “We are called to be a peculiar people. You have that one down, don’t you Kathryn?”
Encouragement has always been a part of Kathryn’s walk. She lives a positive life and looks for opportunities to share that walk with all of those around her. Kathryn has started a journey in a new ministry serving as the Ministry Counselor for her home church. She is developing a curriculum to help others discern their passion in order to discover their ministry and purpose.
Visit Kathryn at www.kathrynlang.com or on Facebook or twitter at kathrynclang.