I'm creating a presentation skills program for a client and in my research I discovered that the new fear in response to "what am I afraid of' is 'Failure'. One word sums it up.
I've been involved with Presentations for 30 years (Oh Lord, am I that experienced!) and I continue to experience the fear of failure and I still practise my presentations and continue to learn how to keep the F Bomb at a distance.
The F Bomb is part of our everyday life: wake up, have a coffee, miss your train (failure), arrive at work, forgotten your security tag (failure), call your boss and ask to arrange access which turns into a great discussion about your project concept (excitement), go out to lunch with a friend (pleasure), two hours of uninterrupted work (success), forget partner's birthday gift (big failure)! Yet, when it comes to making presentations, the bomb is almost debilitating.
Making a presentation can be made complex and on the other hand, can be rather simple if you apply the regular tips and practise the techniques which you've learnt, seen others competently apply and are written about. However, failure has such a big ego: it takes over your mental state, notes aren't readable, colleagues let alone the audience you want to interact appear as the enemy - in actual fact, you are your worst enemy!
For me, I've learnt most when I've failed. Don't get me wrong, warm gushing positive feedback is amazing to receive and boosts your confidence; it's the gut wrenching feeling when your technology doesn't work, pronouncing names incorrectly, faced with questions which you can't answer, observing people on their devices and yes, I've had someone fall asleep. All these examples aren't that bad, they aren't life threatening - it's the anxiety and stress we experience that kills our confidence.
The F Bomb can and should be detonated - be in control and don't wait for it to explode.