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Here is one of our first tips published in 2013!
Public Speaking Tips!
Public speaking can be really scary. In fact it is one of the number one fears for adults! So if you are afraid of public speaking, you are not alone! As a business owner, public speaking and presenting is one of the best ways to gain visibility. And visibility equals more clients. Many of my clients come to me because they realize that public speaking is a viable marketing tool but they feel anxious and hesitant about their ability. After working together in just a short time, my clients begin to feel confident about speaking and better than that; they start to have fun with it! For my gift to you, I am going to share 3 secret tips to support you in letting go of fear when it comes to public speaking! I hope you will put them to use and please let me know how it goes!
Tip #1: Go Out And Speak!
I know. It seems insane, but one of the best ways to overcome fear of public speaking is to actually get out there and do it, and to do it in a way that feels authentic to you! Find your own voice and start with speaking opportunities where you get to speak to groups you know and enjoy. Here are just a few ideas (but please continue to brainstorm!):
- Speak at a party
- Speak to a group of friends
- Speak at a networking function
- Speak at a wedding
- Speak at a funeral
- Speak at a graduation
“Too many people spend too much time trying to perfect something before they actually do it. Instead of waiting for perfection, run with what you go, and fix it along the way…”
The more that you get out there and do it, the less terrifying it’ll be. Some of you right now are thinking, ‘no, I’ve gone out and done it and its still terrifying,’ so here is Secret Tip #2.
Secret Tip #2: The Audience Is On Your Side
A lot of people don’t actually know this, but the audience is actually rooting for you. They are on your side. They want you to succeed. I used to be a standup comic; now I can tell you that I never believed that when I was a stand up comic back in the late 80s and early 90s. Now that is what I call terrifying, especially when you are not especially funny! Every time I went on stage my first year, I would develop a flush from the top of my chest that crawled up my neck. It felt embarrassing so I started to wear turtleneck sweaters and scarves (thankfully they were in style back then).
My fear came from feeling like the audience was going to hate me. They were going to see through me and they too were going to realize I wasn’t very funny. By having this attitude I set myself up for failure! My fear and my thoughts about the audience did not get me very far. But I continued to go out there and perform, and slowly I began to see that the audience just wanted to have a good time. Most people want the comic to be funny and succeed. There is nothing worse than an unfunny comic- it is painful. Trust me, I know this from both sides of the stage! Overtime, my confidence increased, my flush grew less crimson, and while I wasn’t the last comic standing, I felt like I learned some valuable lessons.
The main one is that as a presenter or speaker, we need to care about the audience we are speaking to. We need to approach each speaking engagement with the question: How much value can I bring to my audience today? And to remember that the audience is on your side!
Secret Tip #3: Be Okay with Making Mistakes
I was in Bali a couple of years ago and watched as a monkey took a stone and was using it to apparently carve another stone into some sort of shape. As I stood there and watched, it dawned on me that it looked like he was trying to make a wheel out of the stone! I have no idea if he was successful and if he was, what he would have done with it but it brings to light the idea that one has to take risks in order to be successful. And by taking risks, we RISK making mistakes. What if the Wright Brothers just gave up? What if Thomas Edison decided to just sit in the dark? Where would we be right now someone hadn’t risked putting a cart on top of a log and letting it roll sometime around 3,500BC or possibly earlier? Would you be reading a white paper delivered by the internet if the Network Working Group back in the 60s hadn’t taken a chance and started discussions about moving communication in a different way?
Be a dreamer, be a risk taker (safely of course!) and get out there and speak. If you make a mistake, incorporate it into what you are doing. Be transparent! Use the mistake to your advantage and mistakes will no longer be terrifying but will become gifts!