Sweaty palms, heart racing, butterflies in my stomach, shallow breathing and rising body temperature as anxiety creeps in at the thought of standing in front a crowd to give a presentation.
Did you know public speaking is listed as America's #1 fear?
Anyone who says they don’t get nervous before or during a speech has got to be superhuman!
But once I understood that it was normal to feel this way, instead of avoiding an opportunity to address an audience, I decided to feel the fear and do it anyway!
“Unknown situations empower me to grow.”
It's within this process that I've learned a few things that have helped me overcome or at least minimize fear of public speaking.
Here's a few..
I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT MY TOPICS
I know my topics and I know them well!
Ever heard about the 5 P's?
Proper preparation prevents poor performance.
The more I understand my topic, the more passionate I am about sharing my content. But that doesn't come by just reading or by watching videos. It comes by being a practitioner of the topics that I pick. It comes by being in the trenches and actually doing the thing.
Being a Social Media practitioner prepares me to be able to answer questions and further serve my audience.
The more knowledgable I become, the more secure I feel delivering my presentation! It gives me some wiggle room for improv and storytelling.
Never rely just on kick-ass content. You need to connect with your audience at a personal level and what better way to do so than by storytelling.
Proper storytelling will give you an opportunity to build rapport with your crowds. Feel free to be vulnerable. Don't bore them with a lecture, instead try to lead with a question or story, a defining moment that helped shape your life perhaps.
Storytelling helps to get the audience thinking about ideas or focusing on the narrative of your story, instead of on you.
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KEEP IT PRACTICAL
You might be the Grand Master Geek at some specific topics but your audience might not.
Don't get too techy!
Practice your entire presentation in front of some people who might fit your audience's profile.
You must know who exactly you are talking to.
Get feedback and video yourself so you can see what changes and improvements need to be made.
You want to be authentic, natural and connect with your audience by “dumbing it down” a bit if necessary. Provide practical examples, demonstrations, case studies.
Not just a boring Powerpoint sounding like a robot.
MAKE IT INTERACTIVE
Check for your audience's pulse once in a while, yes?
One of the tools I like to use is Mentimeter .
This tool allows me to ask if anyone has questions and my audience is able to engage via this app in an incognito manner, that way no one feels like they're on the spot or asking a stupid question while I am able to take the attention off myself.
Focus on slow, deep breaths right before your speech to ease any anxiety but remember to vibrate. Project your voice and resonate inside that room.
Remember to breathe during your talk and change tonality, from animated to slower almost whispering tones when you want to reel people back into your story.
The more nervous you are, the faster you'll tend to speak. But that's ok. Slow it down, relax and just breathe.
Be present, be generous with the information and value you are giving your audience, and be excited about this opportunity you have to share your expertise with a crowd of people who are interested in your speech.
Now get out there and start booking those public speaking engagements!
Don't be selfish and let fear get in the way of sharing your story, knowledge or wisdom. Someone out there needs to hear what you have to say!