As small business owners, learning from each other is such an important part of the entrepreneurship journey. Today we are delighted and honoured to feature one of our community members – Katie Hone of The Coloursmithand her story of facing, and overcoming, her fear of public speaking.

Katie is an independent colour and image consultant and founder of The Coloursmith. Working with client personality and colour psychology, as well as physical seasonal and tonal colour analysis, body shape and style personality, she provides every client with a bespoke analysis. She specialises in helping creative women to dress for any situation without having to suppress who they really are.

Katie’s story.

Nowadays, children are taught to stand in front of their class or even their whole school and give talks or presentations. It becomes second-nature for them.

I wish we had been encouraged to do the same when I was at school. We very rarely had to stand up in front of class and ‘present’, so on the rare occasions we did, it became a big deal. I was shy and self-conscious and felt everyone would laugh at me if I went wrong. I would dread it for days. My palms would sweat. My mouth was dry and my cheeks would redden. This association with public speaking continued into adulthood. I never had to stand up and give a presentation, despite working in different jobs.

Then last year, I became a colour and image consultant. I knew that I had a lot of knowledge to share on this subject and could earn money from giving talks on colour, style, style personality and colour psychology.

So I decided to face the fear. I started small and hosted a make-up evening for friends together with a make-up artist (so I wasn’t presenting alone!). I was really nervous but it went well. The next time I gave the talk, it was a bit better. My nerves were slowly dissipating.

Then I decided to give a talk on style personality to a group of local business owners at a local co-working group. This was totally beyond my comfort zone. But I knew that if I could do it, I had overcome my fear of public speaking. As it was not a paid talk it kind of took the pressure off psychologically. It went really well and I booked in another talk – an evening event for some local ladies on style personality. There were barely any nerves and I really enjoyed it, as well as getting great feedback!

It’s amazing how we can build these things up in our head. Not only had I overcome the nerves but I decided that giving talks could become a large part of my income. I’m now offering my services as a speaker wherever I can! Someone recently asked if I could offer a talk on colour psychology for branding and I’m really excited about sharing this subject. Who would have known that what was once my fear has now become something I enjoy?

And you?

So what about you? Is a fear of public speaking something you struggle with? We would love to hear your tips for overcoming it, so share them in the comments below! And if this is still a work in progress, check out our Confidence module. It might just be the support you’re looking for!