How to Overcome Fears on Media and Public Speaking

What fears have you overcome and how?

I’ve overcome my fears of facing the media over the years. It was a real challenge, but now I can confidently tackle various media platforms. From giving lectures to students, public speaking at seminars and conferences, making keynote speeches, being a panelist or even a panel moderator, going live on radio and TV, hosting webinars, creating videos on YouTube or TikTok, and going live on Facebook—I’ve done it all!

It wasn’t an overnight process, though. It took me a good number of years, actually more than 20 to 30 years, starting from my early days of employment, to lessen the jitters I felt when facing crowds and the media.

Overcoming Media Fears: My Tips

  1. Knowledge is Confidence: Being knowledgeable about the topic is crucial. The more you know, the more confident you’ll feel when speaking about it.
  2. Practice, Practice, Practice: Rehearse your speeches or presentations extensively. The more you practice, the more comfortable you become with the material, refining your delivery and controlling your nerves.
  3. Arrive Early and Mingle: Ease your nervousness by arriving early and mingling with the audience or other speakers. It helps build connections and creates a more relaxed atmosphere.
  4. Prepared Answers for Panels: Have written answers prepared for panel sessions. They serve as a helpful reference when faced with challenging questions.
  5. Relate to Your Expertise: Find connections to your expertise when encountering unfamiliar topics. This allows you to provide valuable insights while staying within your comfort zone.
  6. Honesty Beats Guesswork: If you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s better to admit it honestly. Offer to look into it and provide a well-informed response later.
  7. Inject Humor Appropriately: Adding humor lightens the atmosphere and engages the audience. Ensure it is relevant and suitable for the occasion.
  8. Link Topics Mentally, Not Read Slides: Instead of reading slides verbatim, mentally link the topics together for a more natural flow during the presentation.
  9. Clear and Concise Communication: Avoid mumbling or speaking too fast. Articulate your words clearly and explain complex ideas in simple terms to connect effectively with your audience.

These tips have helped me overcome my fears and excel in facing the media. What about you? Do you have any strategies or techniques that have worked for you? Share your thoughts!

From Early Days to VC Pursuit: A Startup Founder’s Odyssey

The world of startups is exhilarating, filled with promise, and yet, fraught with challenges. As the founder of a groundbreaking IoT product designed to make the lives of senior citizens living solo safer and more comfortable, I embarked on a journey that turned out to be both eye-opening and humbling.

A Market in the Making
As countries globally grapple with aging populations, we identified a burgeoning market. Our vision was clear: create a product that aids elderly individuals living on their own, filling a growing need in countless households. We hoped this would not only resonate with potential users but also capture the attention of investors who understood the gravity and scale of this need.

The Hunt for Funding
In our quest for early funding, we approached a staggering number of venture capitalists — over 70, to be exact. Our outreach methods were varied, spanning everything from accelerators and pitching competitions to direct introductions and cold emails. But alas, the interest we hoped for remained elusive.

Facing the Harsh Realities
Our interactions with these VCs provided crucial insights. For many, we were too early in the game. Our product was still in its infancy, with no paying customers to speak of, only trial users. Our pricing model left potential investors unconvinced, and we were still piecing together the most effective business model and sales channels.

A particularly challenging hurdle was our unfamiliarity with the health domain, a crucial aspect considering our target audience. The absence of health advisors or medical professionals on our panel was a glaring void.

But the crux of our pitch problems? Traction. It became apparent that we hadn’t yet hit that sweet spot of product-market fit. As founders, being on the receiving end of these critiques and rejections was a hard pill to swallow.

Rising from the Ashes
Though the feedback was tough, it wasn’t the end of our story. If anything, it lit a fire under us. While a significant number of startups don’t even make it past their fifth year, we’ve crossed the six-year mark, and with that comes invaluable experience.

Now, we have a deeper understanding of our startup’s unique strengths and have zeroed in on an effective business model. We know what traction and revenue metrics we need to hit to make investors sit up and take notice. Most crucially, we recognize the importance of demonstrating a clear product-market-fit.

Looking Ahead
As we gear up for our next funding round, we do so armed with the lessons of the past. Our journey, filled with its ups and downs, has been invaluable in shaping our startup and our vision for its future. We’re ready to pitch again, with renewed vigor and a clearer roadmap to success.

To all fellow founders out there, know this: every rejection, every critique, is a stepping stone. Embrace it, learn from it, and let it propel you to greater heights.