Several dozen blog readers have asked me to train themselves to speak in public. Many had read this post about courage, https://workplacecoachblog.com/2020/06/courage-convictions-and-speaking-up-its-your-voice-thats-needed/, and been so moved by important topics (climate change, vaccinations, …) that they desired to overcome their fears against speaking to groups. Some want to learn presentation skills to further their careers.
I know the feeling. I was shy child and teen, who learned to speak (to pay my way through college) and developed a training company where I spoke in front of groups of thousands. Here are five initial steps.
You take a chunk out of stage fight each time you present to a group and live through it. This means to you that you benefit yourself when you seize every opportunity to speak up, particularly in judgement-free environments like churches or friendly community groups. Afraid you’ll look nervous? No worry—individuals who would be nervous themselves and can relate to nervous presenters fill those audiences.
Focus on them, not you
“Get over yourself” when you stand up in front of a group. Focus on the value you can deliver to your audience. Your presentation is about the value you bring to those listening to you.
Audiences that sense you have value to offer will connect with you. You’ll feel that connection and will both give you power and relax you.
Engage your audience
Make your presentation a dialogue rather than a monologue by asking your audience questions. For example, if you plan to speak to those who disagree with you on a controversial topic, ask them what it might take for them to change their minds.
Treat yourself like a work in progress. Each time you present, ask others and yourself how you can improve.Once again, get over yourself. Who said you had to be perfect? You didn’t ride a ten-speed bike perfectly the first time.
Remember your why
Remember your why. You’re speaking because it matters, because your voice counts. As I said in my post on courage, it can be hard to speak up. You can make someone who sees, feels and thinks differently angry. You can get clobbered. But in a very real sense, there is no one better than you to speak your truth.
Speaking of speaking truth, I wrote Managing for Accountability. If you’d like, you can look @ a preview of it for free on Amazon https://amzn.to/3xAptnz/.
And, if you liked this post on speaking, you might enjoy these earlier posts on public speakinghttps://workplacecoachblog.com/2021/04/my-public-speaking-nightmare-is-about-to-become-true/ and overcoming freezing when speaking, https://workplacecoachblog.com/2020/07/freezing-when-speaking-in-public/
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