Are you apprehensive about public speaking? If so, this guest post by Cath Vincent, an amazing and inspiring motivational speaker and executive coach, is a must-read.
Jerry Seinfeld once joked that at a funeral most people would rather be “the one in the coffin” than “the one giving the eulogy”. It seems that public speaking is the number one phobia – but if you’re in business it could be costing you dearly.
It’s been said that there are two types of presentation: the one we gave and the one we wish we’d given. Or put another way, every person has two personas – the one who speaks confidently to a standing ovation, and the one who secretly doubts our own credibility as a presenter and wonders whether anyone is really listening.
Now be honest for a moment, when you stand to speak, which voice comes out?
The bad news is that if you are not supremely confident every time you speak, you’re probably not winning all the business you deserve. The good news is that it is simple to make massive improvements and there are lots of good reasons to do so. Here are just three…
3 business reasons to be a better speaker
- Because it’s considered natural to be nervous, most people never take the simple steps needed to fulfill their potential when speaking. If you invest just a little effort in this essential business skill, you will stand head and shoulders above your competition.
- When you find speaking in public effortless, there are heaps of FREE marketing opportunities such as network meetings where you can make your mark and become known as an authority in your field
- People listen to confident speakers. There is no better or more cost-effective way for your business to get noticed.
5 easy tips to being a more confident speaker
- If you slave over your preparation and getting the words just right – don’t! Think of it more as a conversation you might have with a friend than a formal life-or-death situation. In fact, verbal communication accounts for only 7% of the impact you can make. Allow yourself the freedom to ‘talk around’ your subject knowing that the impact of the actual words is very small. That way your personality will shine through too.
- If you do worry about forgetting your words, your message may be too complicated to remember. Boil your message down to just 3 key points. The audience can’t process and remember more than that anyway.
- People often tell me “I’m OK when I get onto the middle part” – you have to be compelling from the moment you start speaking. Whilst the body of your presentation can be free-flowing, you should learn your introduction and ending so you feel unwaveringly confident in delivering those two pieces. More time spent on these will pay dividends.
- Don’t be afraid of silence. Allowing a pause shows confidence and gives the audience time to process what you’re saying. You can afford to speak a lot more s-l-o-w-l-y than you think!
- Your job is to make it fun. Humour goes a long way in capturing audience attention. Clients often tell me “I can’t make legislation / technical specifications / annual accounts/ health and safety information fun”. You have to get excited about presenting your material. Energy is infectious. The audience will feel what you feel. If you’re uncomfortable, bored or uninspired, that’s how they feel too. If you’re excited, they’re excited!
A final word to encompass these tips: Don’t Learn It, Love It!
What do you think of Cath’s tips?
Have you found that you perform much better in speaking/presenting situations when you have a positive mindset?
For those of you in Auckland Cath, along with motivational speaker John Shackleton, is running a 1-day workshop to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking on Monday 5 September.