20 May Overcome your Public Speaking Fears
Have you ever dreaded the thought of getting up in front of a group to give a speech or presentation? Statistics say that most people would rather die than give a speech; it doesn’t have to be that way. Public speaking is a road to self-confidence and even greater success in life overall. Many people think we need to have good self-esteem to be a good public speaker, but I disagree: we can use it as a tool to build our self-esteem and success!
The fear of public speaking is not about the “speaking”, it is about what we fear the speaking is going to communicate about us to the audience.
Here are 5 solutions to conquering the fear of public speaking:
- Have a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA): we cannot be successful in anything in life if we don’t believe in ourselves and have self-talk that reflects that. I always give myself a pep-talk and visualize success before I speak, train or teach.
- Know your Audience: we need to make sure that we customize our presentation to suit the audience and make sure that we do not fall into one of the 4 communication gaps: gender, generation, culture or personality type. When we trained a group of Salk Institute scientists, we made sure we had enough facts and statistics so that they believed and trusted what we said. They were not going to take things at “face value”.
- Prepare: don’t wing it! I am amazed how many people don’t practice their presentation out loud beforehand. I usually tape myself into my phone and then play it over and over until I know I got it! Also, don’t use PowerPoint as a crutch! Death by PowerPoint almost ruined presentations for 20 years … finally things are improving. Ditch the PowerPoint if you truly want to connect with the audience.
- Let go of Perfectionism: Brene Brown is my hero when it comes to this topic. “Perfectionism is a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking that it will protect us, when in fact it is the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight.” It is OK if our speech or presentation is not perfect. In fact, it could be irritating to an audience if we seem too perfect, because they will not connect with us. Your imperfection is what will make you effective!
- Be vulnerable: share something personal that is going to help you connect you to the audience. I tell some of my groups about a story when I was ditched by a guy because I didn’t have “the look that he liked” … I had to teach a class on the “Essentials of Credibility, Composure and Confidence” to a group of 100 women in Philadelphia. My confidence was a “2” that day, yet I plucked up the courage to be vulnerable and tell my story. The results were dramatic, and I had a big “aha” that day! I need to be vulnerable more often, something I am very uncomfortable with, since I was groomed to be tough, independent and self-sufficient.
Please contact me directly if you want to hear this presentation or to get coaching on public speaking.
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