I recently read an essay in The New York Times Book Review by Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. I've been wanting to read the book but what drew me to the article was that it detailed her preparation for a TED Talk.
As Cain says, the opportunity to present at TED created a real paradox for her: the honor of speaking at a TED event and her belief in what TED stands for vs. her lifelong fear of public speaking. A paradox many can relate to.
Her entertaining essay describes the way Cain attacked her fear. She didn't avoid her feelings of anxiety by focusing on other projects; she didn't procrastinate about her preparation; she didn't short change her rehearsal. Instead she put a plan together to specifically deal with her public speaking dread and lack of presentation skills.
Did it all get easier as she worked through the stages of her plan? By her account, no. But she persevered -- through the fear, through the dread, straight through to the standing ovation.
flickr/An Introvert's Bag of Books C.C. 2.0