Preparing to Be in a Live Audience Again

Eager? Anxious? Surreal? After a year of social distancing and video meetings, what will it be like to be in front of a live audience again?

For some of my coaching clients, the anxiety is already starting now with plans to tentatively reopen their workplace in September. For some, it will be a relief not to be on video and conference calls/meetings as much anymore.

At least we won’t be alone anymore. Even those without the fear of public speaking are going to need an adjustment period to going back to in-person meetings. Maybe this will level the playing field a bit.

I was extremely honored to be interviewed by BBC News in January. I most enjoyed preparing for this question but it didn’t make it into the article:

  • Do you have any advice for people who haven’t been able to practice social interaction lately, for getting back into a more typical social mode eventually?

Feel free to replace the term “social anxiety” with “public speaking anxiety” for these questions as well as the article that was published: Why We May Have to Re-Learn to Socialise

It mostly focuses on the detrimental effects of isolation and how people are coping and thinking about when things begin to re-open.

Here are some articles I’ve written pre-covid to give you some frameworks for a hierarchy and maintaining your pre-covid progress:

My thoughts are to start now with small steps with something similar to these options:

  • Meetup.com Find something of interest and (hopefully) local to you – most meetings are now online and some may be in-person pending weather and covid restrictions. Look for groups that may require an introduction or sharing your thoughts with a group. If they aren’t local, join anyway. It’s easier to join something you are interested in.
  • Toastmasters  – After entering your zip code, choose the search options of: Online Attendance and Open Clubs. Inquire about how many members there are and ask about the environment – some have more of a focus on the fear rather than the leadership skills.
  • Read here from my own personal experience about how you don’t ever even have to give an actual speech at Toastmasters!
  • Speaking Circles – Virtually and possibly local to you. At a Speaking Circle® you are provided all the support you need to express yourself in your own time and in your own unique way, without any fear or discomfort. Learn how to move through stage fright rather than trying to mask it by sharing who you really are. 
  • Search for groups of interest in your area – they are most likely meeting online.
Click on photo to read the article.

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