When it comes to public speaking fear can and will get in the way of your delivering the most impactful presentation you are capable of delivering. Whether you still have a fear around speaking publicly or if you have moved past the fear and on to working on your delivery I’d like to share some insights with you that will make a difference.
Most speakers I see in person or on a virtual call tend to rush through their slides or handout much too quickly, I believe. As soon as the moderator or host introduces them they are off to the races and it appears to the audience members that they want it to be over as soon as possible. This does not work in your favor in terms of your credibility. And if you will be offering something for sale at the of your presentation, or even if you will just be sending people to your blog or website to join your list and download a free report or other gift, slow down for best results.
Perhaps you are naturally a fast talker. Slow down. You want your audience to hear and understand every word. People will also trust you more and have a better overall perception of you as an expert in your field if you are willing to speak with authority and take a breath between sentences or bullet points on your slides.
Enjoy the process of speaking, to the point that you are looking forward to spending as much time as you have been allotted to share your message. Pausing between your thoughts spoken aloud give people time to think about what you are saying and to form their own ideas and absorb new or abstract ideas you wish to share with them. Your words will paint a picture and punctuate the meaning you wish to convey. It also gives you time to think, evaluate how your message is landing, and resume your speech.
Rapid speaking also denotes a level of fear and insecurity in the person speaking and you certainly do not want to project that image to those who have come to listen to you speak. Speaking evokes emotion and you want to have control of your own emotions to best evoke powerful thoughts and feelings from those who are hearing you.
Just as music is the sound we hear in between the notes, our speaking voice is best heard and absorbed during the silence we allow between our words and phrases. I believed this concept is misunderstood by most public speakers.
The goal is to teach the people in your audience as much as possible about your topic. Too many times I have come home empty-handed because the speaker went so fast, made a quick pitch at the end, and then left the event before I had any time to ask questions and find out more. Someone who is a seasoned public speaker in the area of finance and investment did this several years ago and I ended up not purchasing a program for several thousand dollars that I was interested in knowing more about on that day. What a shame.
Another thing to consider is something I have already discussed; practice leads to excellence!
I’ve shared the story of how I practiced a four minute speech over a hundred times before delivering it onstage in front of two thousand people in November of 2009. I was one of five finalists in a contest called “Better Your Best” where we were asked to share how we had improved our businesses from one year to the next. I entered the competition with my eye on the prize (it was 25 thousand dollars in cash) and I knew my public speaking fear and lack of experience would work against me. One way to practice and improve your speaking pace is to record your presentation on video or audio. Then listen to it over and over until you can be objective about the areas you will need to work on changing.
Once you have worked through any issues that you discover look for ways to practice speaking publicly as often as possible. I have spoken to groups of as few as five people who gave me excellent feedback on what I had shared. I have also spoken to groups of several hundred to two thousand audience members where my goal, in addition to teaching and sharing as much information as possible was to be well received so that I could sell my programs from the stage and at the back of the room, and also to be asked back and to be referred to other groups looking for public speakers.
I’ve spoken to non-profits and charitable organizations, club, churches, and local networking groups as a way to stay sharp for the audiences of authors, speakers, and entrepreneurs that tend to receive my message in a way that resonates with my experience and core values. I almost never say no to any group that needs a public speaker and enjoy the challenge of connecting with new people. And every once in a while someone will come up to me afterward and I know why I was meant to speak on that particular day.
You may also want to set up a makeshift video studio in your home office or extra bedroom. Don’t just let it sit there; practice makes for excellence, so practice! Also, begin to make offers at various price points to be more inclusive with new prospects and ongoing customers and clients.
Set up funnels that lead prospects through the products, courses, and programs you have to offer. And above all else, make sure everyone within shouting distance knows you are a public speaker. Fear of connecting with others will not ever serve you well.
And if your public speaking fear quotient is too high when you are speaking, promoters will smell the fear and not ask you back for a returning speaking engagement in the future.
You can do this and I believe in you! Start small and work your way up to closer to where you would like to be as a public speaker. Keep at it and success will find you.
NOTE: I’m co-authoring a new book with Ellen Finkelstein on the topic of turning your speaking into a business as an ongoing revenue stream. Make sure to opt in to my community on the right-hand side of this page so you’ll be the first to know when this book is published. It will tentatively be available by the end of August, 2020.
I’m bestselling author, marketing strategist, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and I would love to connect further with you to help you to achieve your goals. If you are interested in learning how to optimize the syndication of your content, please take a look at my popular Syndication Optimization training course and consider coming aboard to increase your visibility, credibility, and profitability.