Today I bring you Matt Kramer, whom I met while working with the coolest software on the planet, Video CoPilot (which I'll be talking about in another post.) When Matt told me he'd just released his non-fiction book, we all had to know about this one.
Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Matt. Tell us, what inspired you to write your book The Perfectionist’s Guide To Public Speaking: How To Crush Fear, Ignite Confidence And Silence Your Inner Critic
Hey, LA! Thanks for inviting me to your blog. I wrote the book because I came up against the single greatest obstacle in my life—being vulnerable in front of people. Public speaking. I hate making mistakes. I had always been a perfectionist, so making mistakes was unacceptable. How did I cope, then? Easy, I avoided situations where I’d be susceptible to making them. I played it safe and stayed within my comfort zone as much as I could. Basically, I only did things I knew I could do, rather than taking on new challenges to grow.
I cared what others thought, too. Sure, I never admitted that to anyone, but inside I knew it to be true. I think most of us do. It’s normal.
I wanted to change, though. “Why not public speaking?” I thought. And so I gave it a try. What I found out was extreme pain! I struggled for over 7 months with my nerves...and especially my internal critic. Shouldn’t it get easier with experience? I thought that’s all it would take to overcome the fear of public speaking. Not for me. I was getting experience left and right and the weirdest thing was happening. The nervousness and anxiety were actually getting worse!
The reason? My internal critic. He kept beating me up after every speaking opportunity. If I mispronounced a word, there he was to let me know. Forget to say something? He’d surely pay me a visit. Nothing was ever good enough. What this was doing was reinforcing to myself that I sucked. And without having made any progress, I began to feel hopeless.
I remember this one day when suddenly my mind had given up. I had a speaking class to go to and my lazy brain was really pushing me to stay home instead of going and drowning in nervousness yet again. Strangely, it had convinced me subconsciously. I fully intended to “skip” it. When my conscious mind caught wind of this, it told me what I already knew. That I was never going to go back if I skipped out on this one. So I went.
When I finally broke through and gained control over this tremendous fear, I knew I had to get it down on paper to help people who were going through this very same pain. And here we are.
There are quite a few.
My dad who also volunteered to be my editor (he writes and edits for bass fishing publications).
My friends Remi and Suzanne. We formed a book club and during the process and we would set weekly goals and hold ourselves accountable. We gave each other plenty of encouragement, too.
I encountered supportive friends along the way, many of them from unexpected places. As in, I didn’t meet them until during the book writing journey. Others that played a role were the friends I met from my Toastmasters club--the place where I met “public speaking.”
Are you planning on writing other stories, books? If so what kind?
I think so. I don’t know when, but I continue to write on my blog weekly. Gotta stay warmed up, right?
I’m really passionate about helping people overcome the fear of public speaking. So that’s likely what I’d write about. Non-fiction is my preference although I admire fiction writers and their ability to create entire worlds out of thin air (and surely laced with a little personal experience).
Where would you have someone start looking for help with the crisis you've faced?
My book! :)
And if not my book, within yourself. Figure out what real reasons are behind your fears. It’s ultimately about rearranging your mental focus. Oh yeah, you’ll need to get out and get that wretched experience as well. Sorry. There’s no getting around it.
Would you share some Words of inspiration that you've used to help you through each day?
Oh heck yeah, I would love to.
Here goes: One step at a time. And make sure you take the steps.
Take a book for example. It’s not a BOOK that you’re writing. It’s a load of small passages that happen to get along with one another. They came at different times. Some of your book parties were off the hook! Some had poor attendance. What I mean by that is, some days you wrote a lot. The ideas were flowing. Others maybe you wrote 100 words. I consider these equals in the grand scheme.
What glues everything together is that other thing I mentioned “And make sure you take the steps…”
You must form habits in life. Good habits take you in the direction you want to go. The habit of action or the habit of writing. Even the habit of taking time off for yourself to recharge.
Finally, allow yourself to make mistakes. No matter what, look to encourage yourself in any experience (especially the bad ones).
Give us a brief summary of The Perfectionist’s Guide To Public Speaking: How To Crush Fear, Ignite Confidence And Silence Your Inner Critic
The goal of the book is to help people overcome the fear of public speaking. Also, since it is a “guide,” I go over the fundamentals of public speaking, how to construct a message or speech, and practice methods for improving your skills.
On top of that, here are the points I also want the reader to take home:
- To learn at your own pace. One step at a time!
- To be yourself
- To not beat yourself up and allow yourself room for mistakes
- To not worry about what others think about you
Matt Kramer once despised fear. The intense fear of public speaking nearly crippled his hope, but overcoming it has changed his life. Matt’s passion is simple: To help others overcome their fear of public speaking so they can use the confidence to pursue their dreams. You can check out his blog here.