Adapted transcript of video:

Hi there. Michelle Barry Franco here.

Let's talk about the fear of being judged. Because that fear of being judged is at the heart of pretty much everything that blocks us from making the biggest difference with our speaking. This comes in the form of a lot of different thoughts. Some of these may be familiar to you, things like: What if I bore them? What if I'm not as smart as they are and they realize that they actually know more about this than I do? What if I'm not funny or charming or attractive or whatever enough? What if I make a mistake while I'm up there on the stage? I could go on and on with the many thoughts that we can have and that we do have about putting ourselves out there in this way.

They all come back to essentially the same thing, which is … what if I am negatively judged by this audience?

What do we do with this? Because the truth is, as you know, we are judged. We know this because we judge. When we're in an audience, we are judging the speaker, so we know that our audiences are judging us too. In fact, that's our brain's job, is to judge things, to decide if this will serve my goals. Will this save my life? Will this cause me to die? Our brain is in constant survival mode. Our brain is actually going through this discernment process, this judgment process, all the time.

Here's the part that has the most impact on our ability so share our message with confidence: what do we make it mean that our audience is judging us?

I want to offer you some ways to think about this. First of all, does the judgment matter? Should we ever care what people think of our speaking? Yes, of course we should, because we're on this earth to serve. There is a subset of the human race that we are intended to serve with this message. We need to know if the way we're sharing our message is actually working for them. We will get so much rich, good information when we are open to hearing their judgments about what's working and not working for them. So, there are times when we definitely want that judgment and we want to do something useful with it.

There's also a huge part of the population that we are not intended to serve. In that case, their judgment is not useful to us. It does not help us serve with our message. It will confuse us and it is essential that we not listen to their input and ideas.

When I work with clients, we are often untangling these two sets of feedback that they've received over the course of many years: the people who they're meant to serve and the people who they're just not meant to serve. Other people are meant to serve them with their messages.

The thing is, your stories are not going to resonate for the people you aren't meant to serve. You're not going to be the kind of funny or charming or whatever that they're looking for. That's actually right and good, because the style and content that you are choosing is intended for a very particular audience (who is not them).

Finally, let's talk about what we make it mean when others are judging us – for both of these audiences. When you think about it, it's easier to let go of being judged by those you aren't meant to serve. There is, of course, some discomfort because we kind of want everyone to think we're awesome. But we can practice actually releasing their judgements with love. We can simply say to ourselves, “Okay, you're not my ideal audience member anyway so that's okay.”

But how about when the audience is our ideal audience and we still feel not-so-great judgment about us? What do we make it mean that we didn't know that they weren't our ideal audience member, for example? Maybe we spoke to a whole room full of non-ideal audience members and, upon reflection, we say to ourselves “What was I even thinking?” Forget it. That's a lesson learned.

Don't make it mean something about yourself that you learned a lesson through that process. Then when it comes to your ideal audience members, what do you make it mean that they taught you something new? We can get caught up in the whole ‘why didn't I know that before’. If I was an expert, I would have already known to teach them that way. Those are the kinds of thoughts, the judgments we're making about this very valuable feedback, that are getting in the way of our ability to serve.

It is our own judgment thoughts about this new learning that messes with us. I want to offer you that as a new way of looking at judgment. Yes, judgment is going to happen. You're going to do it too. You're going to be judging yourself about this whole experience. Make sure that you're using that judgment process to become a better speaker and leader. That is its only valuable purpose. Make sure that it's from your ideal audience member and that you are processing it in a way that serves your mission, which is all about making a difference for those ideal audience members. Okay?

Yes, judgment's going to happen. There's a lot of radical acceptance and releasing of the people you're not meant to serve, and there's a lot of really rich learning from the people that you are meant to serve. All right? See you next time.