Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen
You’d never guess it, but most public speakers will admit to being naturally shy. Surely not!? Surely there’s too much irony in an introvert being an unlikely inspirational speaker? Actually, it isn’t luck or irony, it’s honing your skills by trial and error and a whole heap of training.
How do you give confident, captivating presentations both online and offline? What tips can help you overcome your fear of public speaking?
Resham Kotecha, Founder of Podium Perfect, has taken her experience (and fear!) of public speaking on the campaign trail and turned it into a business. Podium Perfect trains female candidates through public speaking webinars with 25,000 sign-ups from over 100 countries.
We take a look at 6 simple tips for public speaking.
Choose the Voice Inside Your Head
Shut down the devil voice!
Create a cheerleading voice that becomes your greatest fan. A voice that shouts ‘You can do this!!’.
Take your self-criticism and turn it into something positive. Because you CAN do this. If you’re struggling to win yourself over, get external validation from friends. State openly, “I’m struggling, I need you to build my confidence”. Friends or trusted associates will then go out of their way to build you up. And if they don’t, sack them off as friends!
Plan. Prepare. Practice.
Sweaty palms, wobbly hands, heart pounding? Don’t associate these feelings with failure. Welcome to the adrenaline rush of public speaking! Brene Brown, an incredible TED talker (and absolutely worth a watch,) hit the nail on the head.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change
Believe it or not, feeling vulnerable and nervous is good. That adrenaline makes you more alert and ready to nail your performance. So plan, prep and practise. Plan your notes, prepare your delivery and presentation and then practise. Tape it and ask a friend or mentor to critique. Sounds so simple doesn’t it?!
This would go against a lot of better judgements, mine included! The awkward silence moment where you blurt for the sake of blurting? We’ve all done it. Simon Sinek, one of TED’s most-watched speakers, says do the opposite.
A lot of people start talking right away, and it’s out of nerves. That communicates a little bit of insecurity and fear.
Go with this method instead. Walk out on stage (or start your Zoom call, heck it’s 2020 after all, the year of video calls!), breathe, place yourself physically where you want to be, count to 5 and then begin. Those 5 seconds will seem like a lifetime but in those 5 seconds you’ve composed yourself, commanded the attention of the audience and showed them who’s boss.
Give Value. Don’t Take.
Audiences are like a pack of wolves. If you stand and sell, sell, they’ll clock out. Create value and give a little bit of yourself back to them. Dani Wallace aka The Queen Bee and Speaker Coach who mentors many of our sistrs, explains that the best way to connect is by sharing something of yourself with the audience.
The audience is looking to connect with you, so peel back a layer.
If an audience can take a positive away, an inspiration, an idea, a way to change something in their lives that they’ve related to from you, then consider that a win.
Deliver Your Performance to Each Audience Member.
Sinek also declares that ‘scanning and panning’ is your nemesis.
You may think you’re engaging with everyone and you may be doing this on purpose so as to avoid eye contact.
But, you’re disconnecting from everyone. As painful as it might feel, make sure you look at an audience member directly in the eye. Sinek goes as far as to say you should deliver a whole sentence to that one person. Then move onto the next person and hit them with your next sentence. By doing so, you’re creating a deeper connection and you’re also enticing the entire audience to watch, and most importantly, listen intently in case your eye lands on them.
If you’re sitting on a train or tube right now, try it. Go over the speech in your head silently delivering it to each and every person. They may not look at you but it’ll help you focus your eye. If they do look up, just smile at them, we need more smiling!
Put it Into Perspective
Let’s be honest with ourselves here, you cannot eradicate nerves totally. But what’s the worst that can happen? You fluff up a line. You skip a word. You stumble over something and have to repeat. It’s not going to undo your whole career! Diane Griffin, a sistr coach and mentor from the world of Property, sums it up perfectly .
Live life to its fullest, really go for it, even if it doesn’t work. There’s time to recover. Recovery is easier than regret.
So get yourselves up on that podium or infront of that camera and go for it. Take our tips and translate them into actions. If you need further advice or, you’d like to look into a coaching programme then reach out to us at sistr and we’ll pop you in touch with one of our amazing big sistrs. You’ll be top of the TED talk superstar performers chart before you know it!