Leadership Tip #7: Make those butterflies fly in formation

You’ve probably heard that human beings fear public speaking more than we fear death. At least that’s what we answer when asked about it in surveys.


Most people have some or other level of anxiety when stepping up on stage.

Reasons are that we fear rejection, and we fear failure. We’re social beings, and failure and rejection are potential threats to our deeply rooted desire to belong.



Did you know? Our butterflies and pounding heart are the effects of energy. It’s a physical reaction after adrenaline is released – and adrenaline is energy. It causes an increased heart rate and sends more blood to the muscles. More blood in muscles will enable your body to execute the intuitive “fight or flight” response. In short, it’s your body’s survival strategy.


How on earth does this chemical knowledge help you? Knowing what causes it is the first step to relieve the nerves. As one of my mentors has poetically put it: “Make the butterflies fly in formation”. 


#1: Reduce the fear of rejection by making it about them; about your listeners. Make it not about what you want to say, but about what your audience would love to hear. How can you enrich their lives? As soon as you focus on the audience, your focus is not on your own pounding heart or the crazy butterflies, and your body will return to normal function.


#2: Further reduce the fear of rejection by connecting with the audience. Talk to your audience, establish eye contact, ask questions. You’re shifting focus from fearing rejection to creating connections with the crowd.


#3: Practise, practise, practise. Even for internal presentations, there are beneifts to putting in the extra preparation. When you know your content, your fear of failure is reduced, and the butterflies fly in formation.


Energy is positive. Put it to good use. Have these butterflies fly in formation

MetaMind Pte Ltd, c/o WorkCentral, 190 Clemenceau Ave, #06–08, Singapore 239924

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