Need some help with your public speaking?
I know how you feel. There are so many daunting aspects to public speaking. So many things to worry about and so much differing advice.
Because of the amount of differing advice out there I decided to write this post. I want to give some easy to understand and easy to implement public speaking help to make you feel less anxious, more confident, and give a speech which is better for you and the audience.
First, this is why there is so much conflicting public speaking advice out there:
Fear equals money
Whenever there is something to fear there is a potential money-making opportunity. Sure, there are people providing legitimate public speaking help, but there are also those who will say anything if they think you’ll buy their latest Udemy course, live training, or self-help book.
So, why should you trust my public speaking advice? A few reasons. First, I’m not trying to sell you anything. Second, I have been a public speaking coach for over 10 years, and in that time I have discovered the strategies that work in public speaking that most courses don’t go into (because these strategies make charging for a course more difficult).
So, if you’re ready for some genuine public speaking help, which will reduce your anxiety, make you more confident, and improve the quality of your speech or presentation, read on…
Reframe public speaking
First thing to do is change the way you look at public speaking.
You are not alone. The thought of doing a speech or presentation gives most people the shivers. As Jerry Seinfeld points out, “Most people would rather by lying in the casket than delivering the eulogy.”
Part of the problem with public speaking is the way we frame it or think about it. Whether it’s conscious or not, we tend to look at public speaking as a form of acting. Where the speech needs to rehearsed to death and mistakes should be avoided at all costs. We frame public speaking as a type of performance. Introduce cue cards, laser pointers, and PowerPoint slides and we feel more pressure to “perform”.
Public speaking as a “performance” is a lot of pressure. It’s no wonder people would do anything to avoid public speaking.
The reality is, however, public speaking is not about performance, it’s just communication. It’s imparting information to a group in the same way you would one-on-one.
When you’re communicating with someone one-on-one, you don’t focus on perfection, remembering all your lines, or cue cards. If you did, it would be strange. The other person would think there was something wrong with you. They would wonder why you were talking in an un-natural manner, and why you were avoiding eye contact. So we don’t communicate that way… Until we get on stage. And this is why audiences hate attending business presentations. Because presentations are un-natural, boring monologues, where it is clear the speaker is more focused on their own discomfort than the audience.
So what to do? Change the way you frame public speaking. Tell yourself that your speech is just communication. That the audience is going to be more receptive to your speech if you focus on communicating naturally with them. Remind yourself that the audience will forgive, probably not even notice, small mistakes or forgetfulness. They will not forgive someone who wastes their time fumbling around with cue cards, reading a script the audience could have read themselves if you’d just emailed it, or looking at the back of your head as you read your slides word-for-word.
Focus on communicating your message to the audience and you’ll feel more relaxed. The audience will pick up on this and be more engaged. In turn you’ll feel more relaxed and confident owing to their receptiveness. Natural communication for public speaking is a positive feedback cycle.
I’d love to hear what you think? Let me know in the comments below.
For further public speaking help, read 10 Ingredients of a Knockout Presentation.