How to Deal with the Fear of Public Speaking

Public speaking, which is defined as the act of speaking or delivering a speech in front of a crowd, is said to be the highest-ranking among all types of fears. Statistics say that 3 out of 4 people have this. Can you imagine a lot of people are more afraid of speaking in front of a crowd than dying? It’s quite absurd, to think that it is not even hazardous, harmful, or life-threatening, but this is actually something very serious for those who have it.

So, given the high percentage of people who have this phobia, is it right to assume that all those speakers, teachers, politicians, and other individuals we see on stage were/are not suffering from it? The answer is no. There are people who just decided to overcome their fear in order to achieve their goals or to fulfill their mission. These are the kind of people who do not let their weaknesses stop them from pursuing their passion.

To be honest, I was one of the people who fear public speaking but I persevered to overcome it as it is very important in the field of sales. There are a lot of factors that develop this fear in a person. I will discuss some of those here.

  1. Fear of criticism. Most of us are usually concerned about what others think and say about us, and are not keen on receiving criticizing comments.
  2. Lack of confidence. Sometimes, we are not confident to speak not because we are typically shy, but because we lack preparation or knowledge about the topic we are supposed to speak about. Also, when we are not prepared, we tend to fail in managing the time and organize our thoughts accurately.
  3. Lack of self-esteem. This is a deeper and more difficult factor to deal with because this means that we do not appreciate, trust, or value ourselves. When this is the case, we usually think that we are not capable of speaking in front of many people, we are not worthy to be listened to or paid attention to, or that we do not have the knowledge and skills.

These are only some challenges that affect a person’s view on public speaking, but these are also the most common. I could say that once we learn how to deal with or address each of these, we will be able to overcome the fear of public speaking. How do we overcome these challenges then?

Firstly, we need acceptance. We have to accept the fact that no matter how perfect or flawless we think we are or our performance is, there are people who think otherwise. We cannot please everyone, as they say, so we just have to accept the criticisms and be thankful instead because those criticisms can help us improve. Secondly, we have to equip ourselves not only with knowledge but also with skills. Even those who are naturally eloquent and love crowds need to prepare themselves before getting on a platform or a stage. So we must make it a habit to study, and practice all the time. Lastly, we have to believe in ourselves that we can. We also have to accept that perfection is subjective, so we should not compare ourselves, our knowledge, and our abilities with others. Since this is normally something difficult to overcome on our own, we have to seek advice from experts, and from mentors on how we can develop self-esteem, and how we can stop sabotaging ourselves.

Public speaking is a necessity in many industries. It is absolutely necessary in the world of sales, business, and many more. If you are afraid of public speaking yet you wish to be a champion in sales, do not let it stop you from your goal. Work on what’s keeping you from it as what champions do.

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Is Rejection a Stop Sign?

Three years ago, when I was still starting my own sales training and consulting company, I personally went to many companies in Cebu City to offer my program and service. Most of them asked me to submit a proposal and were looking for my portfolio or background as a sales trainer. Since I just started at that time and had no portfolio to present, I got rejected 50 times. Most of them did not respond to my email nor contact me by phone, while some declined right away. When I followed up, they told me to just come back once I have the portfolio or training record. It felt just like getting your job application rejected because they are looking for applicants with experience but you’re still a fresh graduate. Then, you’d be left asking yourself how you can get the experience if no one would be willing to give you a chance.

After experiencing those rejections, one would think I would give up because it seemed impossible to get clients to invest in my training programs. Yet, I chose not to give up because I knew everything starts that way. There are many possible reasons why we encounter rejections but there are also reasons why we should not let such rejections stop us from trying again and again.

Here are the reasons why we should not always consider rejections as a sign not to pursue our goals:

  1. Rejections are redirections. I believe that sometimes the paths we are trying to tread may not be the best path. Which is why things do not work the way we want them to. For instance, you got rejected from a job that you wanted so you decided to apply somewhere else because you did not have much of a choice. You got accepted and ended up gaining more opportunities than you can imagine. I actually had a rejection experience in the past that have entirely redirected my career path. It was when I was still working in a hotel. I applied to work in Canada but got rejected. If I got accepted instead, I would have been working abroad up to this moment and have not gone to Cebu City, be a salesperson, and eventually a sales trainer. What a redirection indeed!
  2. Rejections are protections. I still remember, when I was still a kid, the many times my parents would say no to a lot of my requests. I also remember them telling me why each request was not granted, and usually, the reason was it would not do me any good. In other words, those kinds of rejections were meant to protect me from anything bad or harmful. Even now that I am older, I realized that some rejections I experienced protected me more than caused me losses. There were those which prevented me from working with people, who later on proved to have completely different principles from me and my company. Needless to say, those rejections were blessings in disguise.
  3. Rejections are opportunities for growth. Imagine if you have been accepted to every job opportunity you applied for, or got a yes from every person you proposed to (personal or business)… would you have learned how to be resilient, resourceful, open-minded, creative, analytical, or strong? With everything easy to get or acquire, I believe not. Yes, we all work the way we do because we aim for approval, for success, or for everything to work the way we want it to. However, these would not teach us the values that rejections do. If I always hit the sales target when I was still starting my career as a salesperson, I wouldn’t have invested in learning. If I wasn’t rejected by the previous companies I offered my sales training service to, I wouldn’t have known what I should improve on to promote my service the right way. Well, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

It is said that everything happens for a reason. This is true and definitely applies to rejections. The reality is that rejections are part of life. There is no such thing as a success if one did not overcome challenges, including rejections, in his or her journey towards his or her goal. It is time for us to embrace this fact. It is okay to feel sad about it, but learn to always see the good side of it, find out why it happened, then try again or redirect. But, never stop because, as what Tony Robbins said, “life doesn’t happen to us, it happens for us.”


(Photo by Pixabay)

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The Ultimate Non-Negotiable in Sales

In any company, salespeople are given sales goals or quotas to reach every month. More often than not, the management no longer checks how these salespeople achieve their target as long as they deliver. Although there are company mission, vision, and core values in place, these are sometimes neglected because of the pressure that comes with the numbers to be reached. As a salesperson for a long time now, I know that a salesperson must have personal ethics and use it at all times in dealing with prospective buyers and existing clients. This must be non-negotiable for any person, even those who are outside sales, because he/she can only adhere to the business ethics in place when he/she has a strong resolve on what’s wrong and what’s right. Here are some values that come when someone has personal ethics and why each is important for a salesperson to have:

  • Integrity. Integrity means doing the right thing even when no one’s watching. A salesperson who has integrity will always make sure that he/she will do the right thing, and will not over-promise or take advantage of a prospective buyer’s obliviousness about the product or service for the sake of closing sales even without supervision. This value is vital for a salesperson to have because, without it, one will just do anything and everything, no matter how wrong, to make a sale. Without it, the purpose of a salesperson, which is to serve others and help them address their needs, is defeated.
  • Empathy. Empathy means understanding what and how others feel. A salesperson who is empathetic will surely put the need of the buyers first before his/her own. Having empathy will cause him/her to serve the buyers with truthfulness and genuineness, making sure that the latter will be able to make the most out of the product or service they availed, and not leaving them to figure it all out on their own.
  • Honesty. Honesty means truthfulness in words and actions. A salesperson who is honest will more likely gain the trust of the people he/she offers products or services to because he/she does not withhold any information from or try to mislead the latter to entice them to buy. A salesperson who is honest will always make sure that there are no details about the products or services that are concealed from the prospective buyers and existing clients. Concealing a fact just to make the product and service more attractive to the buyers will eventually backfire to the salesperson himself or to the company he/she is representing.
  • Respect. Respect means giving high regard to a person, may it be oneself or another, and acknowledging the dignity of each one. When a salesperson has self-respect and respect for others, he/she will act according to what is morally right because he/she cannot live with the fact that he obtained or gained something through deceit or other wrongful acts. This is because he/she believes that everyone needs to serve and be served in a manner that promotes their dignity as a person.
  • Loyalty. Loyalty means being faithful and committed to one’s goals — mission, vision, and core values. A salesperson who is loyal is faithful to his/her pledge to uphold the mission, vision, and core values of the company he/she represents. This salesperson is also committed to delivering the company’s promise to the people they serve with the highest level of quality possible.

Without these values, which are part of personal ethics, a salesperson is only a liability and not an asset. Why? Because his/her actions that do not adhere to these values will later, if not sooner, cause a big problem to the entire company. A salesperson is a representative, therefore, people will see their actions as authorized or permitted by the company he/she represents. If you own a business or you lead a team of sales professionals, always watch out for this when hiring and developing your people. And if you are a salesperson or an aspiring one, always be reminded of why this profession exists — to serve others first before the self. Always remember that personal ethics is non-negotiable in sales and in life in general for, without it, we are nothing.

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3 Practices That Turn Clients Off

Being engaged in the business of serving people for many years, I have observed what practices make clients disappointed with service providers. Here are three of those practices:

  1. Not honoring the appointed time. Whether you are late for the meeting, or you do not end it at the agreed time, you definitely are making your client disappointed. Why will this turn your client off? Time is too precious, therefore when you do not honor the time they spared to meet you, you are disrespecting them. Who would want to work with a person who does not respect you? This is the reason that I always do whatever it takes to start my training on time and be ready before the time. However, I am still working on the part of ending my training on time because I have the tendency to extend due to my desire to give my clients more value. Although this is unintentional on my part, I am well aware that this should be addressed.
  2. Not honoring promises. How would you feel if someone promised to call you during your lunch break, so you skipped lunch to wait for the call, yet failed to do so? I am pretty sure you would be far from feeling fine because you sacrificed something to wait for the promise made. This is what your clients feel when you fail to do something you said you would do, even if that something is not very important. When you say that you will give an update, call, or email, you have to take note of those little commitments because those are vital in maintaining the trust you have established with your client. If you cannot assure your client, do not make promises. Set the context.
  3. Not following through. One of the reasons that some salespeople are held in ill-repute is their failure to check on their clients after the latter avail the service or purchased the product they offer. This practice tells clients that salespeople are only after the money, and not on helping them. This practice is also one of the reasons that a salesperson does not get referrals.

Product knowledge and selling skills are essential, however, there are also more important values that clients look for when choosing the best person to serve them. Let us be always mindful. Let us respect our clients’ time. Let us not break promises. Let us make sure that they are satisfied with our service. The essence of being a salesperson is serving people. Let us uphold the reputation of our profession.

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