Public speaking – most people loathe it, most people are afraid of it, most people do not want to do it – let alone do it for a living, like I do. If you don’t like public speaking, don’t worry – I feel you because I’ve been there. But great news is there’s a way to overcome and love public speaking!
There are three things that ultimately ended up making me feel very comfortable speaking in public and networking. I believe, these three things can help you as well.
So, you're about to go on stage, and your brain goes – blank, at least that's what happened for me. Your bladder is overactive, you're nervous, your stomach has so many butterflies, you’re anxious. But did you know… that’s the same physiological response of being excited.
And so one of the things I did was switch the narrative. Because if your story is very much like “Oh my god, I'm so nervous. What am I going to say? What if I forget my lines?” Then your body is going to respond by producing anxiety.
If you say something like, “I’m super excited to be able to serve these people. There's someone in the audience who needs to hear what I have to say.” And often, especially if I feel intimidated in any way by an audience, that's what I think of I think of – who's the one person in that audience who desperately needs what I have to say?
The second that you have the permission and the privilege to be behind a microphone and have an audience listening, that's the moment that it is no longer about you, it is about your audience.
You're only the vehicle to get the message that the audience needs to hear. When I started asking the question – what do I want my audience to think, do and feel, after having heard me speak, that's when the magic started to happen. That's when I could go out and be really, really confident on stage, and not feel self conscious. Self consciousness is going to keep you from genuinely serving your audience.
If you do the prep, and you know exactly what you're going to cover, before you go into the speech, it makes you a lot more confident.
When I have an outline, I would know; What stories I’m going to share and the key points I’m going to make. With that, I know all the pieces of the puzzle that I’m going to fill in around those.
It also helps to know what outcome you want your audience to have. What do you want them to think, feel and do after listening to you? And if you don't have that dialed in, how will you build the speech that you're going to give?
And so, it’s best to start with that question before every talk. “What do I want the audience to think, feel and do?” Set your focus on the audience when preparing for your speech.
Now we're going to talk about practice, and you can practice in the car, in front of the mirror, wherever you can to get the reps.
The key is, you don't want to be giving the speech for the first time when you're in front of an audience. And this goes for not just big speeches, but also if you need to introduce yourself at a networking event. Practice will help you say things naturally that it rolls off your tongue.
If you can't master the 20 person room, you're never going to have the privilege of the 20,000 person room, or anything in between.It's about growing. It’s about constantly evolving and pushing ourselves to become better and better and better. And always focused on serving the end user who is so desperate for your information or just interested one little tidbit over out of what you have to say.
And, with time with the right perspective, preparation and practice, you will eventually learn to love speaking just like I do.