Public speaking still remains the #1 fear of most people in America. So it's no surprise when I hear other colleagues and entrepreneurs ask me, "How can I be more confident on stage? Or speaking in front of crowd? Or even networking?" Admittedly, even speaking in front of massive groups of people gives me pause most of the time. In fact, when I was a practicing attorney I would throw up before each and every trial.
As a consultant, business owner and author, public speaking is a substantial part of my job and even today I still experience nervousness before going before groups. The true fear behind public speaking is really messing up and looking like an fool in front of peers, colleagues and frankly everyone.
I've found these four tips to be instrumental in my ability to calm my nerves and show up like a pro.
Here's a revelation....there's no one way or perfect way to be a speaker. Think back over the events you've attended and the speakers that captivated your attention. Where they all alike? I bet they were different with one exception...they held your attention. Whether you have a great sense of humor or have amazing stories, use what's authentically you to your advantage. It's doesn't matter what you're sharing so long as it's shared in a way that only you could deliver it. Go ahead and shine!
I wrote a post earlier on getting over your fear of public speaking in which I shared about preparation. Two great ways to get prepared are: (1) videotape yourself and (2) practice your talk in front of others. Videotaping yourself will allow you to see those things you do unconsciously like saying "ummm," or fidgeting, or doing weird things with your hands. These are signs of nervousness and you don't want do things that will distract your audience from you or what you're saying. Additionally, practicing in front of a few trusted friends will help you get over some of your nervousness and get you direct feedback on your performance.
This is key! It's not about memorization, it's about comfortability. When you really know your topic and the points you want to share there's no need for memorization. You'll just speak from the heart. Also, knowing your talking points will really score you some big points if you're experiencing technical difficulties like having the wrong HDMI cable or your computer goes on the fritz. Every speaker has a story or two when they had to "wing it" and if you're not prepared for that inevitability, you may never speak again.
If you've listened to interviews by some of the greatest athletes in the world they will tell you they watched and studied the greats that came before them. At first they may have tried to emulate their moves, but soon they were able to adapt and create a style all their own. Watching other speakers either via Ted Talks, live events, or even YouTube videos will give you some insights into what makes others so successful or awful on stage. Be a good student of your craft by watching a few highlights of others then hone your craft.
Look, you've got this! Speaking in front of strangers is the number one fear for a reason so know you're in good company. Just remember to be you, know your stuff and practice. And when you get the chance watch others or even get some help to improve your skills. You'll be a pro at this in no time!
If you need help creating your Signature Talk, improving your presentation skills, and creating a visual impact on stage so you’re coming off confident, credible and authentic, schedule a free Strategy Session with me TODAY.
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