Studies show that one of the most common fears for most people is public speaking. When you are in front of people you feel as if you are vulnerable. You get seen. People will think things about you- most likely criticize you, whether they say anything to you or not. You might say something stupid. You might have a wardrobe malfunction. You might trip. You might do something that has you experience embarrassment. All of that might happen, yet, most people today are called on to do some form of presenting at minimum. When networking you will have to speak publicly even if it is in the form of a 30 second introduction. Many people have to give presentations in their companies. And there are many people who want to be influencers in which public speaking is critical.
I speak in public all the time. It is a very important part of what I do as someone who is committed to being an influencer. I have had most of the embarrassing things happen to me. I was being acknowledged for heading a fund raiser and took the step onto the stage and fell flat on my face. I was leading a public seminar with about 100 people in the audience when I felt a breeze, I looked down to see my blouse had become unbuttoned except for the top button! I fixed it and asked the audience why no one told me—they said they did not want to embarrass me…..OMG! I had been talking for nearly an hour while flashing them, I found out! Talk about embarrassing. I fumble words. I have power point technical problems- and sometimes, me problems when I forget to advance the slides. I think you get it. I have experienced it all. Yet, I love speaking. I find it the most exhilarating fulfilling opportunity to contribute. So, how did I get past all that embarrassment.
This is a simple tip- I realized that I survived embarrassment, and I still impacted people in a positive way. I find that to be a very important fact that has helped other people whom I have trained to speak in public. Realize that whatever happens, you will survive and if you can simply roll with what happens, you can still accomplish what you set out to do.
If you can get past the fear, learn to be great. How you do this is like anything else, practice. Master your craft. Ask others for constructive feedback. Watch other people presenting and pick up tips and techniques. The most important thing I can suggest is to speak TO people, not at them. When you are speaking, no matter the situation, if you engage with another person, meet their eyes and speak to them, you will impact them. Do not scan the room, but actually anchor yourself by speaking directly to individuals in different parts of the room. Each part of the room where you connect with people will be connected to you. I consider speaking publicly to simply be a conversation between me and individuals- although there are lots of them. However, if you keep in mind, they are people, too and they are listening to you to get whatever information or inspiration you intend, you can relax. Public speaking can be fun!