By Dr. Sinclair N. Grey III
Can we be honest for a moment and say that many people have a fear of public speaking? Just ask any entrepreneur and you're sure to get a 'Yes' answer.
Even though people don't have a problem speaking to family and friends, they have a problem speaking in front of an audience. Whether the audience is small or large, fear takes over and the next you know, people are sweating, getting nervous, and in many cases. trying their best to get out speaking. It's all natural. However, the fear of public speaking doesn't have to define you or confine you. In a real sense, public speaking can open doors of opportunity for you and your business to grow. Your voice can be the ticket to great opportunities.
As a speaker for close to 20 years, I've witnessed it all. From great talks to terrible talks. Because every day should be a day of learning, it's important to remove any barrier that stands in your way. And fear is a barrier that must be eliminated. As one of my mentors told me years ago, 'fear is that which you place a label on.'
Because people place the label of 'fear' on public speaking, I want you to know that it doesn't have to have the final word. If you're serious about growing your business and meeting new people, understand this about public speaking.
- Stop saying you don't like public speaking. Every time you tell yourself this, you're triggering an unhealthy part of your brain that keeps you fearful. Reprogram your brain in the affirmative by saying, 'I''m not afraid to speak,' 'I'm good at what I do,' 'People need to hear me,' and 'My voice will take me places.' Speak positively to yourself so that you can get the best for yourself
- It's okay to admit you're nervous. Just about every speaker gets a little nervous when they're asked to speak. Use your nerves as a motivating tool. You'll discover when you start speaking on what you know, your nerves will quickly diminish
- Engage your audience. Asking questions and getting crowd participation will help make your speech/presentation go smooth. No one wants to hear a robotic speech/presentation. (Note: Not all speeches will allow you to engage with your audience)
- Have fun. Unless you love what you do (your business), you won't make a good impression on your audience. People like to see a speaker's personality through their smile and other demonstrative actions. Even though giving a speech/presentation is serious, have some fun with it. You'll feel better and your hearers will greatly appreciate it.
Here's a word of advice for you – anytime you're allowed to speak, accept it with gratitude. Your voice is your calling card to a group of people who need to hear you. People want to know what you do and it's up to you to deliver the message with conviction. Remember - a quiet mouth won't get recognized.
Dr. Sinclair Grey III is a speaker, author of The ABC’s of Making Business Networking Work For You, and success coach. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @drsinclairgrey. If you're ready to take your business to the next level, go to www.sinclairgrey.org and fill out the contact form.