Conquer Public Speaking | Tips to Overcome Your Irrational Fear
I believe I speak for most men when I say there isn’t much that scares me.
I also like to believe this isn’t just wishful thinking that’s going on in my head.
While we can put on a brave face and conquer most things that get thrown our way, there still are instances that make us second-guess ourselves.
And then there are the few things that absolutely terrify us.
A common one for many is public speaking.
It definitely was, and sometimes still is, a pain point for me. I can vividly remember the anxiety I had whenever the opportunity arose to speak to a large audience. Lucky for me, it’s an occasion that happens all too frequently.
If you are nodding your head in agreement as you read this, I feel your pain sir!
I know public speaking is something we all prefer to avoid. I used to breath a sigh of relief every time a meeting I was to present in got postponed or a speech got cancelled.
Before you silently pray for higher forces outside your control cancel your next public speaking event, remember this:
Public speaking will accelerate your success faster that pretty much anything else.
Don’t kid yourself; you want success just as badly as the next guy. Why else would you be reading a website on how to be more successful?
Now that you’re listening, I’m going to list some key reasons public speaking is worth the stress it can cause. As a side note – don’t worry about the stress as it can be reduced which I will discuss a bit later.
Public Speaking Gets You Noticed – Not much research needs to go into this one. Standing in front of a room to present equals many pairs of eyes focused solely on you. If your presentation is memorable for the right reasons, it will be easy for others to think of you for that promotion, business opportunity or other successful endeavor.
Public Speaking Builds Your Knowledge – When I feel stressed about an upcoming speaking engagement, I want to be as prepared as possible. This is one way stress can be used for good. No matter how knowledgeable you are in a subject, you can always get better.
Public Speaking makes you a Better Personal Speaker – Yes! Many people forget this. Speaking in general is a skill that is learned and fine-tuned after years of practice. The more you present to a large audience, the more prepared you will be with much smaller groups. Maybe like that date you have coming up?
Great! I can feel your new found optimism for presenting radiating through the computer screen. Glad to see your excitement growing for public speaking!
Now a quick recap of where we’re at so far…..
I just presented you with three ways public speaking can accelerate your success faster than a lot of other things. But what kind of article would this be if I stopped there? You sir, need some action items you can begin to apply today to make your next presentation the best ever.
Well here it is, 4 action items you can start applying today that will make you a much better presenter for your next public speaking engagement.
Be Super Prepared
It’s normal to be stressed the weeks or days leading up to your presentation. There is a reason most humans fear public speaking worse than death. There is so much that can go wrong.
The good news is that a lot of it is in your control.
Whatever the subject is, make sure you are an absolute expert on it. If your presentation is 30 minutes long, make sure you have enough knowledge in your head to cover a 2-hour presentation. You should be able to speak at least 4 times the amount of the allotted time. That’s how knowledgeable you have to be.
Begin this process by writing down everything you know on the subject. Whenever there is something you don’t know, make it in the form of a question. After this is done, grab some books and head online and put answers to those questions.
Next it’s all about rehearsing. Start rehearsing a week before your presentation. Start with just rehearsing in your head and then work your way to speaking in front of a mirror.
When the time comes to present, you can confidently say you have done your part to limit what can go wrong, at least for the things in your control.
Make Your Presentation Personal
A mistake that many men make when speaking in public is focusing on the wider audience.
Let me be a little more blunt. This is a HUGE mistake.
When you present this way, it tends to come out a bit boring. No one likes a boring presentation.
A common fear many men have when speaking in public is losing the audience. This my friends, is an easy way to accomplish this.
Instead, try to make your presentation as personal to the audience as you can.
Knowing your audience is a great first step but also go a level further than that. Make your audience feel like you are speaking directly to them.
Take a look at some of the best presenters in the world from the past and present. You can’t help but get a sense that they are talking to you.
A good way of accomplishing this is with eye contact. Take your time to look at your audience as individuals. Think about it, they are the ones you hope will be benefitting from your talk.
Next, try to have a conversational style of speech. Be friendly in your approach and add some storytelling to the mix.
Your audience will be much more engaged as a result.
Look the Part
If you wanted my honest opinion, dressing well is always important. It’s a visual way to show respect for others and yourself.
Dressing well, as you can guess, is very important when in the limelight.
All eyes are going to be on you during your moments of glory. Not everyone will remember your message but many will be able to recall that ugly tie you had on.
Not a good thing.
The first you want to do is dress according to your message. If your topic is serious, dress in a more formal matter. If your topic is a little more light hearted but profit driven, dressing business casual should get you by just fine.
If you are at a loss as to what to wear, do yourself a favor and dress up. It’s much better than the alternative.
Being yourself is harder then we think, isn’t it?
When in front of a large group of people, this applies even more.
This causes us to go for perfection and act how we think others expect us to act. This causes the message we try to portray come off as fake and forced.
So before you even begin to write up your speech, get a good understanding of who you are. Get a good feel of how others perceive you.
Are you considered a funny guy? Make that show in your presentation. Do people feel you are friendly and approachable? Show your friendliness in your speech.
A presentation that’s genuine will be far more effective than one that is not regardless of how good the latter is.
Besides – nothing will make you feel more comfortable speaking in public that doing so in your own voice.
In conclusion, I hope I’ve shown how public speaking is one of the greatest ways to cement your status as a leader and accelerate your success.
Understand that the fear you feel when speaking in public is natural but not something that should hold you back. Now get out there and show them how it’s done.