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Fear Hierarchy

July 26, 2021– This week, we’ll be wrapping up Public Speaking for authors, which was our theme for July! Today we’re going to focus on something really cool that I had no idea existed until a few days ago; let’s dig into Fear Hierarchy and how authors can use it to overcome their fears of public speaking!

What is Fear Hierarchy? It’s defined as a list of fears in order of least afraid to most afraid with the goal of exposure to the situations to dispel the fears listed. As you immerse yourself and check your list off one by one, your confidence will grow, and you’ll be speaking in public as an expert in no time!

Sample hierarchy list: (Remember, this has to be unique to you! Write your list from least to most afraid)

  1. Read an article out loud to a friend. A newspaper or short article from a magazine will suffice.
  2. Ask a question. Next time you’re at a meeting, conference, or retreat, raise your hand and ask a question.
  3. Make a toast. When you’re out to dinner with family or friends, make a short, impromptu toast to celebrate being in each other’s company and enjoying your time together.
  4. Host a book club talk. By hosting book club, you’ll get to dig into subjects that matter to your participants. Maybe you want to talk about plot structure, setting, or character development, but whatever you choose, leading the talk will help you practice speaking to a larger group with a clear idea in mind.
  5. Speak to a small group about a subject you’re passionate about. Maybe it’s in a library setting, at a local chapter of crime writers, or a writing group of up-and-coming authors who are interested in publishing children’s books. Testing your skills in a small group is less intimidating than standing on stage in front of hundreds of people. This will let you test the water, answer real questions, and interact with your listeners.
  6. Host a workshop or class based on your knowledge. Now it’s time for the big show! You’re the featured speaker, and this is the thing that scares you most on your list! By now, you’ve had some great exposure and are ready to share your knowledge with your audience confidently.

Make a fear hierarchy of your own and expose yourself to the public speaking situations that intimidate you. Before you know it, you’ll be an old pro who has no fear of getting up on stage and saying your piece!

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