Face down your fear!
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Those were the words of former US president Franklin D. Roosevelt in his inauguration speech on 4 March 1933. And in many ways, they are still true today.
At the annual studyworld conference in Berlin this past weekend, I held a workshop on how to behave at a job interview. This is a situation that many people fear, particularly if they have to do the interview in a foreign language.
In order to reduce the fear factor, I encourage interviewees not to worry about the fact that their English isn't perfect. Instead, interviewees should focus on speaking freely, building rapport with their interviewers and convincing them that they are the right candidate for the job. Easier said than done, I know.
Another situation that often generates considerable fear is having to give a speech in front of other people. This is one of our main topics in the latest issue of Business Spotlight, which goes on sale today.
In our Business Skills section, Bob Dignen provides advice on how to overcome your fear of public speaking. He also gives language tips for a number of specific speeches, including a team-building speech, saying goodbye to a colleague who is leaving your organization, and an acceptance speech when you have won an award.
Fear is also dominating the current "Brexit" referendum debate on Britain's membership of the EU. On 23 June, the British will decide (as they did in 1975) whether they want to stay in the EU. Depressingly, both sides of the debate are playing on the fear factor, trying to persuade voters that it will be a disaster if Britain stays/leaves. It would be nice to hear more positive arguments from both camps.
As I write in the latest Business Spotlight, I sincerely hope that my country doesn't decide to leave the EU. It is a view shared by the British government, as you can read in this interview with Paul Heardman, British consul-general for Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.
Roosevelt argued that we should fight fear, or what he called the "nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyses needed efforts to convert retreat into advance". Don't let fear hold you back in your workplace. Instead, look it in the face — and face it down.
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