Igniting Workplace Enthusiasm

7 Easy Steps To End Your Fear of Public Speaking


Public Speaking is the best marketing tool we have today. It costs close to nothing and gives you a platform to market and sell your products. However, most people do not consider this tool because of their fear of speaking in front of groups. Here are 7 easy to implement tips on how you can conquer that fear: 

1. As Abraham Lincoln said, "You are what you think". Before each speaking opportunity, think and write out positive affirmations (i.e. "I'm a great speaker") and you will eventually believe it and become it.  Control your "self-talk" – don’t let your weaker side take control.  

2. "Practice makes permanent" - Just like with everything else in life the more you do it the better your skill becomes. So take every opportunity you can to speak!  

3. Visualize the Audience in Their Underwear – Sounds a bit counter-intuitive, but you can immediately calm your fears by realizing that everyone is just a person like yourself.  Fear driven speakers are focused on themselves – switch the focus to your audience. 

4. Plan and Practice - 90% of a good presentation revolves around good planning. If you want to decrease your anxiety - know your audience, research your topic, prepare a good outline and then follow it.  Be careful - don’t spend all of your time getting your PowerPoint slides organized.  Make sure you spend the majority of your preparation time rehearsing and practicing the delivery. 

5. Visualize a Successful Presentation - Picture the opening, body and the close. Picture everyone smiling, laughing at your humor, applause at appropriate times and then coming up afterwards telling you about the great job you did.  Elite athletes use this technique to gain the advantage of "neuron grooving" of the brain, so that you can complete and replicate superior performance. 

6. Use your Own Style - Be yourself. Many fears can be attributed to a speaker trying to adapt to a style that is not their own.  Leave comedy to the professionals and no need to try and be Steve Jobs or Barack Obama.  Be the authentic you.  We are all close to perfect at spotting "fake" and the damage to your professional credibility will be huge, if you try to be someone you are not.  Don’t go there! 

7. Get to the Meeting Early - It will give you a chance to get comfortable with the room, check that the equipment works, make sure the room is laid out properly, practice your presentation. 

The people who set up the room are rarely public speakers themselves, so the cluelessness of room layouts for presentations is sometimes hilarious.  Also don’t let any "helpful" staff turn out the lights during your presentation, because they think the screen will be easier to see.  You become invisible and even worse you can’t see your audience, to check how they are responding to what you are saying.  

Get there ahead of time and mingle with the audience so that you get to know some of the participants and why they are there.  It is always nice to mention their name, "I was speaking earlier with Masumi and she mentioned…."   This immediately connects you with the audience and Masumi appreciates the recognition and is now a big fan!




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