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Probably we’re all guilty of falling into the trap of excessive thinking.  Some people refer to this as analysis paralysis and we’ve all fallen victim to this behavior…at least once.  The definition of this term is that when we think of too many options or solutions to a situation, we end up not being able to select one that fits the situation, so we don’t choose at all. If that sounds like you, believe me you’re not alone, particularly if you’re a public speaker.  Here are some aspects you may wish to consider:

  1.  I know I’ll just bore others so why even try?  If that’s something you’ve thought or said out loud, it may be time to consider that what you have to say is valuable and others want and need to hear you.  What you bring to the table could prove beneficial.
  2. I want to be perfect so I might as well give up. Public speaking is not at all about striving for perfection.  No one expects that of you so practice your message out loud and do your best to sound your best. That’s a reasonable goal.
  3. My topic doesn’t apply to this group, so I’ll pass.  As a speaker, it’s your job to conduct an audience analysis.  That way you know as much as possible about your target listeners in advance.  Once you have this information you can customize your topic, so it is directly applicable and meets the needs of your audience.
  4. I’m not the creative type and find it really hard to hold the attention of other people.  This is a great time to think about mixing it up, especially with your opening remarks. You want to start with a bang, so others are immediately drawn to you and compelled to listen. That means you can open with a story, startling statistic, interesting question, or a prop.  Each of these techniques is unique and will set you apart from the outset.
  5. I’m doomed if someone asks me a question to which I don’t know the answer.   The question-and-answer portion of any presentation is a golden opportunity to connect with your audience.  One option is to anticipate potential questions and practice answering them.  If you don’t know the answer to a question, realize that the audience will accept that. Your response would be something like “Thank you for asking such an interesting question.  While I don’t have an answer right now, I can research that and get back to you in 48 hours.  Is that okay with you?” Most people are delighted you’ll obtain the answer, so be sure you follow-up and get back to them when you say you will.

It’s easy to suffer from analysis paralysis which comes about from overthinking.  Clearly, there’s value to reflecting on a subject however it must be time limited.  To do otherwise, you run the risk of simply rehashing a scenario and conjuring up the worst outcomes. It’s a lose-lose situation.

Now’s the time to turn that around and you have that choice.