How To Overcome Fear Of Public Speaking?
Public speaking is one of the most difficult things to do. It's an opportunity to share your thoughts and ideas with the world.
It’s hard and you have to be confident, you have to know what you're talking about, and you have to be willing to use the camera as a tool for connecting with your audience.
But it can also be scary. For some people, the fear of public speaking can be so overwhelming that they avoid it at all costs, even when it means missing out on opportunities for their career, education, or personal life.
With the right preparation and mindset, you can overcome your fear of public speaking.
There's no need to let fear of public speaking get in your way. In this episode, me and the amazing Brenden Kumarasamy will discuss about how to overcome fear of public speaking, how to start producing videos, and how to be confident in front of the camera.
Listen to the Episode
Atiba de Souza: You know, we hear it all the time. Recording video is hard and you've probably even thought about that. That recording video must be hard because those people make it seem so easy. And you can't imagine being that easy behind the camera. Well, guess what? All of us who make it seem easy behind the camera, it's not that easy. And my guess today, Brenden is one of the greatest guys at helping you learn how to be great behind the camera. So stay tuned because Brenden has some great stuff that he's gonna drop with us today. I mean, stuff that I was taking notes on like, I gotta do this. I gotta do that. Great stuff of how you can get better and more comfortable behind the camera.
Today, I'm with Brenden from MasterTalk and we are going to have a real candid conversation about what it's like being on camera. Let's just face it. You're watching this and you're probably scared because you've heard me say before, "You need to get on camera", and you don't want to do it.
You're terrified of it. And, you look at us and you say, "You're on camera all the time." Brenden, this guy, MasterTalk, just listen to the name of his company. He helps people become masters at talking. He's got 24,000 followers on YouTube and you're thinking, "Yeah, you guys are great and it's gotta be easy." But, we're gonna share some secrets with you today about our journey.
Brendan, welcome to the show.
Brenden Kumarasamy: Atiba, the pleasure's absolutely mine. It's great to be on, man.
Atiba de Souza: Thank you. At this point you produced hundreds of videos. Your videos look awesome. I'm not even gonna lie to you. I even get a little envious of your video sometimes. I look at it, "I'm like, man, this stuff is good." Okay? Your stuff looks great. But tell me, is it really that easy? Where did it start?
Brenden Kumarasamy: Hundred percent Atiba. So, I always like to say I sucked on camera at the beginning. When I was in college university, I used to do these things called case competitions in Business School, Atiba.
That's how I learned how to speak. Think of it like professional sports, but for nerds. So, will other guys like play basketball or something or baseball, which is not what I would do. As you can tell by looking at me for those who are looking at me on video. I was the nerd, which means I did presentations competitively. But, as I got older — so at this point video isn't even in the picture yet, it was mostly in person presentations.
I got great at presenting. And then, I started coaching a lot of the students mostly for free back then, because they couldn't really afford a coach, so that they can do better at these competitions. What led for me to present on video, the first place was when I graduated from University and I started working at IBM as a technology consultant.
So once again, no aspirations to be a thought leader here. I just had the idea to make videos because I didn't have time to coach the next students were joining that program because I was going to get really busy in my new corporate life that I was starting.
Atiba de Souza: Wow.
Brenden Kumarasamy: That's what prompted video the first time.
Atiba de Souza: Okay. And, you said you weren't a natural.
Brenden Kumarasamy: Definitely not.
Atiba de Souza: So, what were some issues that you faced early on?
Brenden Kumarasamy: Sure. So, let's start with the big challenges in general, then let's go into video. So, the three biggest challenges I had is I grew up in a city called Montreal.
I still live there, Atiba. So, for those who don't know Montreal in Canada is a city where you need to speak French, which is language, I didn't know. But, of course my parents being smart and cognizant of that, they put me in French school, so I'd learned the language, which of course was the right move.
But my whole life, I was presenting a language I didn't know. So, when I was in first or second grade, not only was I scared of presentations, I was presenting something that was gibberish. So that's the first strike. The second strike against me was I have a crooked left arm.
A lot of people don't know this because it's easy to hide on social. But, when I'm presenting in person, you meet me in person, you notice my left arm is crooked because I had a surgery when I was younger. When I was at kindergarten, in first grade, not only was it impossible for me to make friends because remember, I don't know how to speak French to people.
I can't talk to anybody. I also have a big cast, so that didn't work. And then, last strike is, you would think that a communication expert studied in communication, right? Nope. I have a Bachelor's degree in Accountancy.
Atiba de Souza: Wow. But you really are a nerd. And, I can say that out loud because I am one too.
Brenden Kumarasamy: Absolutely. Where do we start with the challenges, Atiba? When I started on video— at that point I was already pretty good at communication. But, the challenges I had on video were so much. One, it's really difficult to present without an audience, because there's no energy for you to pull on.
Two, it's awkward at the beginning. I started my mother's basement, I had a phone, I was presenting and I was making a ton of mistakes. There's no energy, bunch of filler words. So yeah, I was terrible on camera for the first year.
And by the way, for those that don't believe me, go watch my first videos. They're still up there and you'll see the difference yourself.
Atiba de Souza: This is a pro tip, if you will. If you're watching this video is you see someone and you say, "Man, they're so great on video." So many of us actually leave those early videos when we absolutely sucked. Go back and watch those, and you'll see. What you see today is not where we were a few years ago. Not even close to where we were. But you brought up something that I hear a lot of people talk about, they complain about is the no audience and the lack of energy of just looking at that light and talking to the light that's just on the camera. How'd you overcome that?
Brenden Kumarasamy: So, there's a couple of things there. The first one is I cheat. So, I actually never overcame in, in some way, shape or form. So, I'll explain what I mean by that.
What do I mean by cheating? So, when I film my YouTube videos, people don't know this either, I actually do present in front of an audience. An audience of one, my creative director who's standing behind the camera. So, because he's there and he's in the room and he is giving me feedback, it doesn't really feel like I'm alone when I'm practicing on video. So, that's an easy strategy. Just have somebody in the room when you're presenting on video. But, for the first year of YouTube, when I was posting videos, I had nobody. It was just me in my basement. So, the key is really to keep going.
But the third piece, which is the most important one at Atiba. It's really asking ourselves a very basic question. What is video for? I know that sounds really simple, but let's think about that question for a second. What is video really for? Because the people who don't post videos on social or in general, don't really see video in many ways as a way to actually create impact and change in helping people. They see it more as "Oh, I need to do this", kinda like a chore, "I need to do this. I'm not doing it. But, I really should because it's gonna bring me more money and more business." So, that's not the right place. I don't like that energy.
The number one priority is to make us unlearn that, and relearn it as a tool of impact. So, what does that mean? I'm not even going to tell people to post on social today, Atiba. I'm not even gonna go there. I'm gonna start with level one. That's level three.
Literally, level one is make a list of the people that you really appreciate in your life. People that already pour into you, your existing clients, your friends, your family, your old friends. Here is the big question of the day, Atiba. The million dollar question.
When was the last time you sent them a video message? Nothing crazy just to say, "Hey Atiba! Thinking about you, brother. Love what you're doing at the podcast. Love all the CMO work that you're doing. Hope you're having a wonderful day." No one does that. Be the person who does.
Atiba de Souza: Wow! Be the person who does. We usually like to get actionable tips at the end. We got one right in the beginning. That's huge. It helps you just get over some of that fear. That is awesome. I'm gonna share mine, if you don't mind.
Here's how I overcome it. I'm always talking to someone. When I've got a topic, I think about— little bit different, because mine is fictitious. It's not a real person. But, I imagine that they're just sitting on the other side of the camera, much like your creative director and we're having a conversation.
And, I just imagine that they ask me a question and now I'm just answering their question. And, I'm getting feedback from them and we're just going. So, that's what works for me. But, I absolutely love that tip of starting at ground zero of sending just an appreciation video to people that you absolutely care about. That's awesome. Now, it does make me ask you this question. If that's step one and posting on social is step three? What the heck was step two?
Brenden Kumarasamy: And, that's the right question. I'm making these steps up on the spot here. But the anyways, I'm just kidding. But, the point I wanna try with video — let's actually go back to step one a little bit.
Why is this important? Why does this matter? I'll give you an example with the CEO I work with. He manages 40 employees. It's like an interior design company, and I literally told them one day, I said, "Look", let's call him, John, "I want you to sit down for an hour and you're gonna send 40 video messages, one to each employee. I don't care if they're a janitor or they're a Vice President. You send all of them video messages, individually, personalized, wishing them Happy Holiday, addressing them by name and saying one thing that you appreciate about them." So, each video is like 20, 30 seconds. Nothing crazy. And, he didn't wanna do it.
He's like, "I don't know what if I don't have the right lighting?" I said, "No, you're gonna sit here or I'm gonna fire you." That's how I do things. I'm a bit more intense. So, he said, " I don't wanna be fired. I wanna keep working on this." So, he sent all the videos. What happened? Well, for the first day, nothing happened.
But, then when he woke up the next day, he got a flood of thank you messages. Employees were messaging him saying, "Oh my God, this made my day." Some of them were crying. Tears of joy. I've never received a video message before. Why is this important? That's step two. Why is that step too important to, Atiba?
Because that exercise makes you realize that even if you're the shittiest person on camera in the world, like he was. That's why I'm using a different name. Even if you're shit, you actually learn a very valuable lesson through that exercise. That you can really make a difference in the world just by sending video messages.
You can make more impact. You can make more money. Forget about social. Forget about views. We won't even talk about that. Just creating impact. When I started the YouTube, it wasn't about, whatever the count is. It was about, okay, one person. I knew one person who was gonna watch the videos. And, once you have that impact, I call this progression leads to obsession.
So, when you start to progress and video, then you start getting really obsessed. Then you go, okay, now I need to hire a team. Now I need to do this. But, that's the key. Last thing I'll say on this, I'll jump the ball back to you. I am shocked, Atiba. Forget about social. I'm not even talking at social yet.
We're not even there yet. Sending videos to existing clients is like the biggest missed revenue opportunity I've seen in my life. Any business owner, any industry, I don't care what you're in. You could be selling styrofoam. You could be selling a coaching services. Let me literally tell you how I make money, because it's not through podcast.
Guessing a lot of people might think that is, but it isn't. It's really just for brand that I do this. Let me tell you how I really make money. Let's say I got 50 active clients. I sit down, let's say it's the holidays, Christmas. It doesn't matter. Don't overthink it. Like my mentor says, are we making an excuse to do the thing or not do the thing?
So, people make excuses not to do the thing, I make excuse to do the thing. That's from Berel Solomon.
Atiba de Souza: Say that again. Are you making excuses? Go ahead.
Brenden Kumarasamy: Are you making an excuse to do the thing or not do the thing?
Atiba de Souza: You heard that? Hold on to that thought because that's major right there. So, many of us make excuses not to do things, but you can make excuses to do them and that will change your life. Go ahead.
Brenden Kumarasamy: Absolutely, Atiba. So, in the context of video message, let's take out 50 clients, whatever. Let's throw a number there and that's for everybody listening. Apply this to your own business, your own career, whatever.
So, you send 50 video messages, 20 seconds each. Not like crazy. It'll take you maybe an hour to send 50. Give or take. And, it's nothing crazy. It's not even a sales pitch. "Hey, Atiba, I hope you and your family doing great. Have a happy holiday." Always, Atiba, 10% of those video messages, so five of them, always reply with "Wow, Brenden! Really made my day! I'm glad you sent me this video message. You actually made me think of you for a second. There's this VP at my company who really needs you." Boom! I just made money. It's free money. People don't like free money, Atiba. I don't know. It's crazy. I don't get it.
Atiba de Souza: People don't like free money.
Brenden Kumarasamy: When they find $10 on the road, they get really excited. They pick up the $10. They go, "Oh my God!", but when it's time to make $10,000 by sending a few video messages, they go, "Nah, I can't do it."
Atiba de Souza: They don't wanna do it. I hope I don't butcher this statement. It was Gary Vee, in one of his books, he said this, " Do the common thing in the most uncommon way." And, the most common thing is to have connection, in this case, with your client. So many of us miss that on all sorts of levels. You are just taking it one step further saying, "Hey, do it in the uncommon way. Send the video because that's gonna cause you to stand out." Everybody sends. It's hysterical because clients will get upset if you miss social post on a holiday. You didn't put out a Christmas post.
Guess what? Nobody notice. I don't care how many followers you had. Nobody was looking for your Christmas post. Because, they got how many that day? But, you're absolutely right. Did they get that video from you? Nobody else sent it and that would've stood out. It's great stuff, man. Wow! Guys, I hope you all are picking up on this.
I'm gonna go back and re-listen to this man. We're gonna change some things. For my staff, you all about to get some video messages too.
Brenden Kumarasamy: That's what I like to hear about.
Atiba de Souza: All right, you all gonna get some video messages. I send you all messages all the time. But, hold me to it you all gonna get some video messages and when you do, reach out to Brenden that MasterTalk and tell him "Atiba sent us video messages.
Brenden Kumarasamy: I love what you shared there, Atiba. Let me give you my version of what you said, and I love Gary Vee's quote there. There's two things that come to mind. The first one is an original and the other one I got from Sam Altman. So, let's start with the original. So, my original of that is if you communicate 20% better than your competition, you will stand out a hundred percent of the time.
So, it's not about doing a million things. It's not about buying Ferrari for your clients or your family members. It's about doing those little things like the video message that helps you completely snap. I've yet to meet another service provider who does this besides me for this people that I serve anyways.
It might be different for other demos, but I don't know anyone else besides me. That's why I get a lot of the market, without spending more money acquiring customers. The other piece that I love from Sam Altman, he says this, "Extreme people get extreme results." And, Alex Hormozi's version of this, CEO of Gym Launch, he says, "Naturally, if you wanna be in the top 1% of any industry, whether it's in communication in video production and anything that automatically implies mathematically, that you must not do what 99% of the population is doing.
Atiba de Souza: Exactly.
Brenden Kumarasamy: So, if you wanna be in the top, once you said like, what Atiba doing, "Okay, I'm gonna send video message." If you wanna be more like him, then you need to start not just reading or taking notes, but actually doing the actions that puts you in that category.
Atiba de Souza: We've talked about audience. We've talked about dealing with that, and you've dropped some gems on us so far. I almost don't even know where else to go, because I feel like, this was great. But, I do wanna ask one more question here. Because this is the next side that people freak out about when it comes to video.
When we finally get them over, when you finally say, "Okay, I'm gonna start." Then they freak out about the technology. They freak out about, "Oh my gosh, do I need a thousand dollars camera and microphones? Do I need a whole studio lighting kit?" Did you go through that early on or at all?
Brenden Kumarasamy: So, the short answer is no, the long answer is yes. So, what does that mean? So, the short answer is no, we should always have a bias for action. That's why I like being young on these shows because if I can do it, what's people are listening's excuse? Especially, if you're in that group. It means the people are listening to you —they're successful businesses. They're successful executives. These people have done well. You have a lot more wisdom than me. You're a lot older than I am. So, let me paint this picture. I was 22 years old. I had a Bachelor's degree in Accountancy. I had no money because I hadn't worked at IBM yet. I start a few more months to go. So, I'd probably 500 bucks in my bank account.
I had every excuse in the book not to start my YouTube channel because the person I admired on YouTube, Alex Lyon, who's kind of my equivalent on YouTube. He has 300,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel, and he's 50 years old, and he has a PhD in Communication.
Was I insecure about posting? Absolutely. He's got like production teams, all this stuff. So, why did I do it anyway? I did it, Atiba. But, the reason I did it was because of the 15-year-old girl who couldn't afford me. So, for me, it wasn't about, hiring, getting executives to pay me money or all that stuff.
It was about saying, "Okay, the 15-year-old girl right now in Utah or in Cambodia can afford me. And, nobody's young who's sharing this information. So, I didn't overthink the tech. I said, I just need to practice. I just need to get out there. I'm still in my mother's basement. Obviously, I recorded in a professional studio now. But, that's only after I did this for a year, after I saved up a bunch of money when I started working at IBM a few months later.
So, the point I wanna drive is we need to get started. We need to put in the reps. And, see it, like going out to the gym. You won't get the results right away, but the best way to start is to just walk. You need to start going and then over time you build up that skill.
Atiba de Souza: Absolutely. I couldn't agree more. You've just got to do it. Period. Before we got on, I told you about the video that I recorded three times this morning. And, I kept doing, having to redo cause I kept messing it up. That was on how to get started with video, and just using your cell phone, just turned the darn thing on and record. You don't need anything fancy. Just turn it on. That's it. Build those reps, like Brenden said. Build those reps. Brother, this is awesome.
So, Brenden, you've dropped a ton of knowledge and a ton of gems on us already. Right. And I'm gonna say on behalf of the audience, we're super appreciative. And so I've got two more questions for you. The first one is for anybody who's still on defense. Is there a piece of advice that you can give them that will just really help them say "Yeah, video is right and I've gotta do this."
Right. That's the first one and then the next one, which is super, super important for someone who needs a coach, someone who needs a coach to learn how to talk and how to present, how do they reach you? Because you are the man.
Brenden Kumarasamy: Thanks, man. If I get the Atiba approval, I made it officially. This is it. So two ways I would say, so let's start with the first part, which is what's my advice for the person who's still on the fence. My advice would just be a question back to the audience, Atiba. The question is simply this, that I'd love for you to reflect on for 10 to 15 minutes. How would your life change if you got on video? How would your life change? You know, a lot of us, we focus on communication as a chore, negativity, stress, anxiety. Let's focus on the positive. How would your life change? Or better, how would the world change? The reason I started MasterTalk once again, Atiba, I was already doing well financially before I started making YouTube videos. It wasn't about money. I was really frustrated that other coaches in my industry were not sharing everything for free because communication coaches are cheap. What about the next Elon Musk who's 15 years old? When Elon was 15, nobody cared about him. Nobody was helping him. Nobody was giving him free resources to use like the videos like I create. So because of that strong, "why", regardless of all the challenges and I had plenty of them, ageism was a big one. A lot of CEOs didn't trust me. I don't have that problem anymore. But when I was 22, I did. And they're like, "why should I hire you?" Right. So I had all those challenges. How do I push through them? Because I had a strong reason for doing what I was doing. I knew if I didn't post those videos, no one was gonna help the 15-year old person, because you can't make money off the 15-year old girl. You can't make money off the 15-year old boy. So that strong "why", came from that question.
So ask yourself that question. How would your life change if you went on video? How would it make the day of your family if you send them little video message? How would it make the days of your clients, the way that you serve them, the way that you love, 'em the way that you create impact for them.
That's really where the transformation comes. So reflect on that and you'll find the answer you're looking for. Because for all of us, the answer's different. And then the last piece is yes, —to keep in touch, absolutely. So there's two ways to keep in touch. The first one is the YouTube channel. Of course, just type MasterTalk in one word, you'll have access to hundreds of free videos on how to communicate ideas.
And for those of you are interested in coaching and seeing me live and thinking about coaching as well, just register for one of my upcoming free trainings on zoom. I do a free one every three weeks. It's fun. It's interactive. It's live. It's not some boring webinar. You can register for that at rockstarcommunicator.com.
Atiba de Souza: Rockstarcommunicator.com. Well, Brenden first, man, thank you. This was a real treat and an absolute pleasure to have you. You are a master communicator. I appreciate that. And for everyone who is listening, I really hope that you go back and re-listen to this because Brenden just dropped some real, real knowledge and some real gems on us. And we are here because we want to help you overcome the fear of turning on that camera and getting on video. Because we realize video's gonna change your life. It is, and it's gonna change your life because it's going to change the lives of people that you reach, which was Brenden's whole point. So do it. Start it. And when you do, tag us in it. Let us know that you did because we want to cheer you on as well. All right, we'll see you next time. Brenden, again, thank you for being here, buddy.
Brenden Kumarasamy: Pleasure was mine brother. Thanks for having me.