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How to get over fears to have better conversations

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 2/21/20 7:15 AM

How to get over fears to have better conversations

I want to share something that I share with a lot of my coaching clients, whether they're sales people, or managers, or even business owners... and that is, how to practice.

It's actually something that I learned for myself when I had to overcome my secret fear: public speaking.

I know, I know I'm a keynote speaker, I speak all the time! But if I were to tell you what would happen to me the night before, or the day before I had to get up on stage, you would be like, what is this woman's problem? I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat. And anytime I had to go into a speaking engagement, I would have to lock myself in the bathroom before just so that I could try to calm myself down. So that when I got up on stage, I didn't look like and sound like a member from Alvin and the Chipmunks.

But here's what I had to do.



I had to be willing to lean into the thing that I was most scared of.

And for me, the way that I learned how to overcome this fear of public speaking was by reading this book, Steal the Show by Michael Port. It's been such a lifesaver for me because of the rehearsal process that he talks about in the book.

Now here's the thing, the same rehearsal process that actors and performers on a stage go through and use to perfect their performances, and to truly engage with their audiences is the same kind of process that you need to use in a sales situation. Whether that's having a conversation with a rep that's going to be a little difficult, or trying to prospect or position a value to a buyer, or as a business owner, even trying to convince or persuade someone to come and work for your company.

All of these are high stakes moments that you can practice and rehearse for.

Steps toward getting over your fears

So here's what I tell my coaching clients to do, here's what I do for myself, and here's what you can do too.

Write It Down

Number one, whatever it is that you think you want to say, write it down. Whether it's the questions that you want to ask, how you want to run the introduction, or how you want to ask for the business. If it's something that makes you nervous and something that makes you anxious, put words to paper. The thing that this does is it starts to slow down your thinking. It starts to help you to realize and put into words what it is that's going through your mind.

Read It Out Loud

The next step is to start reading that out loud. Read it from the page if you need to so that you can get used to seeing the words and hearing them come out of your mouth.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Finally, what I ask my clients do and what I do with them is to actually practice having that conversation with someone else. Have them role play and be the buyer. Ask them for specific feedback on how you may be able to improve. How did they feel when they said this particular thing, or where did they get lost in the conversation that you need to tune up a little bit more? This does a couple of things for you psychologically, because whenever you're trying to adapt a new behavior or change some type of belief, one of the things that psychologists would have you do is to expose yourself to it a little bit more. And that's one of the things that practice does is by exposing yourself to it. 

Expose yourself to it in that you're actually doing it a little bit at a time so that it doesn't seem so scary anymore. This was how I got over my debilitating fear of public speaking, and it's how you can also get over your fear of having that tough conversation with an employee or team member, or trying to position your company in a way that's going to make others want to come and work with you. Or as a salesperson, trying to connect with a buyer so that you can understand the problems that they have so that you can help them connect it to a solution and make a right decision for them.

Looking to learn more?

Buy the book, read the book, practice what they talk about in the book, and soon you'll be having better sales conversations and get over any fears that you might have.

Stay tuned here and on our YouTube channel where we're going to be sharing all kinds of tips that I tell salespeople every day. Have fun out there!

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Topics: sales training, video