Public speaking is ranked up there as one of the most terrifying things we can do, in regards to stress it is right up there with buying a house. Just as with buying a house, it can be one of the most rewarding things we do. In actual fact the things that challenge us the most can often reap the biggest rewards but that’s another story, back to the scary public speaking.
A question I’m often asked as a speaker is “do you still get nervous before give a talk”, the answer of YOU BET seems to be a surprise to people. The nerves are what create focus and it’s about managing them to minimize the challenge and maximize the opportunity.
These are some key steps I go through to reduce the fear:
- Speak with passion: Find a way to link your subject with something your passionate about, this will give you the visual one needs to be engaging and memorable.
- Be consistent not predictable: In creating content that keeps us on our toes we keep the audience on the edge of their seats. The moment we default into what is expected we lose the edge.
- It’s a relationship: Treat the presence you have as a speaker as you would any relationship you wish to have for a long time. Be clear, be attentive, be real and treat the audience how your would like to be treated yourself.
- And the biggest secret is that not many of us are actually scared of speaking, we’ve been doing it since we were teeny tiny, but put us in front of an audience (whether that be 2 people or 2000 people) and self consciousness kicks in with what if I forget my words? What if I’m not funny? What if I start sweating? What if??? What if??? What if??? What if you didn’t embrace the opportunity?
So next time you’re asked to give a speech, host a meeting, make a toast or seal a deal consider the above with a blend of what you know and can research on the web and you might just surprise yourself with the result.