Have you ever wondered...
Why are some people great at public speaking?
Why do so many people fear public speaking?
Can you learn how to be a good public speaker?
I have, especially recently while working with clients and while travelling in the US, I spent some time watching and listening to both the Democrat and the Republican candidates and their supporters’ speeches. I noticed some great speakers (e.g. Bill Clinton, Obama, Donald Trumps’ son, just to name a few) and some not so good speakers (I won’t name them).
This got me thinking about some issues my past and present clients had/have “The fear of public speaking”. Did you know that the FEAR of public speaking is one of the highest fears, even higher than the fear of death?
Let me share with you my personal story on how I overcame my FEAR of speaking in public. I am a public speaker now who has spoken in front of global leaders; over 200 plus audiences and I love what I do. Feedback from my audiences is that I am inspirational, courageous, authentic, energising and comes across really friendly.
From a young age and throughout my school years, I enjoyed speaking in front of others without any fears.
But about 15 years ago, all that changed when I joined the professional working arena.
I found myself a bit shy, quieter than my most male colleagues (I worked in IT) and often I was overcame with the fear of saying something stupid. I was especially scared to present my ideas or oppose other people's' ideas in the meetings.
I soon realised that not speaking up was actually holding me back and that I needed to do something about it. So I started to watch people I considered great speakers on TV, in those days we didn’t have TED talks on YouTube!
I joined employees’ networks as a committee member to practice speaking in front of my peers and also presenting my ideas to senior sponsors at VP levels.
Soon my confidence started to grow and fear became less. I had a very good mentor (Sonia); she recommended that I joined Toastmaster International, the London Business School branch. On my first meeting, I had to stand up in front of complete strangers and give a 2-minute talk about myself. It was terrifying, my body was shaking and I thought I was going to faint, but in the end, I delivered. The audiences clapped and I didn’t faint. I was given feedback on the spot and overall feedback was ‘I did well”.
I had some practical tips on how to improve my body language, eye contact and message. Statistically, 60% of what we say in public speaking is conveyed through our body language, what we say only account for about 10%. Following my weekly sessions at the Toastmaster, I practiced wherever I could. After a couple of months, I learnt to present with ease and started to enjoy the process of presenting. I learnt that with positive self-belief, preparedness, gathering regular feedback and continuing to learn, everyone could overcome their fear of public speaking.
Below are my 7 top tips on how you too can transform your fear of public speaking to presenting with impact.
Watch how people you admire present (e.g. in your company, on TV, Ted talks, You Tube videos)
Make a conscious decision in your mind that you want to be a great speaker, banish negative self limiting beliefs
Understand your audiences (e.g. their demographics, knowledge level for your topic, their needs and expectations)
Make your message clear, simply and ensure it has a flowing structure
Prepare and practice in advance (e.g. less slides is better)
Pay attention to your physical image, if you are dressed well, you are more likely to feel confident
Consider joining a speaking organisation or hire me TODAY to coach you through your fear of public speaking.
These tips have helped me get to where I am today; I hope you have found it useful. It is never too late to learn the skills and techniques of speaking in Public. Get in touch with me TODAY and take control of your fear.