Is Fear Making You Invisible?

My blog will focus on case studies from my living laboratory. These are real people and I've changed the names to protect confidentiality. These situations are universal. Fear is one of the worst afflictions in the workplace and in life. It keeps us from taking action, it stalls success and happiness, negatively impacts our reputation, and it keeps us from our dreams. One negative side effect of fear is it makes us invisible as in the case of my client Joan.

Situation: Joan was a bright, successful executive for a Fortune 500 company who was deathly afraid of giving presentations, even at monthly meetings. Joan's fear of speaking was causing her to lose valuable opportunities for visibility in her organization. Realizing the seriousness of the situation, she was eager to begin the speech coaching process. Although Joan was a good enough speaker, she was experiencing anxiety and heart palpitations. She admitted that she was avoiding speaking situations and confided that she knew avoiding public speaking was career suicide.

Solution: I decided to take a two-pronged approach. First I reframed Joan's thinking about public speaking and reduced her perfectionism, which was underlying the fear. Once she changed her thinking, Joan practiced breathing and pausing techniques to gain control.

Result: After 8 hours of coaching, Joan developed a new confidence. At the next monthly meeting she spoke up and felt good about it. She reported that her nervousness was reduced and that she was actually the best presenter in the group! P.S., Joan now shares speaking tips with other speakers in her group! For public speaking tips visit