You’ve been told that public speaking is one of the fastest ways to grow your business. (It is.)
You’ve heard there are countless places to speak as part of your marketing mix. (There are.)
You feel a calling to get into the spotlight and share your message that you know will help a lot of people.
But you have this little problem. Well, maybe it’s a big problem…
Oh, I hate to be the one to tell you, and I know you think you are a special case, but guess what?
YOU ARE PERFECTLY NORMAL!!!
And here’s what it means without your twisted spin on it…
That’s right. You care about the experience and the learning the audience has with you. And that’s a good thing. Feel the fear and allow it to inform you. When you do you’ll be able to choose from a number of different strategies for addressing it. Push the fear down and it will only fester. (Nobody likes festering fear!)
To recap the last two weeks, I introduced the three primary strategies for conquering public speaking fear:
2.) Re-programming Beliefs and
Taking Action in spite of the fear (covered in Part 1) is the quickest and most useful means to conquer fear and that’s why I place it in the number one spot.
Reprogramming Beliefs (covered in Part 2) is probably the second quickest and less intense ways to conquer public speaking fear.
Now, if Taking Action and Re-Programming Beliefs still leave you feeling less than fully powerful, I suggest you explore the logical side of things.
Knowledge conquers fear. Here are just a few questions to ask yourself to get the lack of knowledge part of fear handled:
1. Are you more knowledgeable on your subject than the typical person (that’s about 80% of the population)?
2. Have you done your homework to understand your audience’s needs?
3. Have you familiarized yourself with the physical and social environment?
4. Is your presentation solidly structured to get the result you intend for both yourself and them?
If you answered “no” to any of those questions, your fear makes perfect sense! And chances are you just need a little more knowledge to get the fear handled. Piece of cake!
Here are some suggestions for getting your Knowledge up to speed and clearing the last remnants of fear:
1. You don’t have to be a genius or have a PhD to be an authority on a subject, but you do have to know more about your topic than most. If you are feeling uncertain, make a list of all the aspects of your topic that you DO feel rock solid about and then focus on those. Chances are that the more specific you get about your particular strengths, the more appealing you and your topic will be anyway. Being a generalist will deflate your confidence and your credibility.
2. You are there to serve your participants. Knowing what they want and need before you show up takes the focus off of you and your agenda, which is often the source of fear. Contrary to what you might think, it’s not all about you. Get into their world. Do some homework beforehand by talking to the host and/or interviewing actual future attendees. It will show that their benefit is your primary concern, you’ll be able to tailor your talk to their specific needs, and it will also warm them up to doing more business with you. By focusing on what’s in it for them, it takes the attention off of you and that’s definitely a win-win.
3. A lot of fear can be alleviated just by knowing what to expect on-site so you can command the space instead of the space commanding you. Whenever possible, visit ahead of time to assess the environment. If that is not possible, arrive early enough to adapt and modify your plan. You want to eliminate the element of surprise whenever you can. And make sure you double check your supplies, materials and equipment and have a backup plan for unforeseen events.
4. Have you ever heard the expression, “structure is freedom?” It is! Structure is your friend. It allows you to relax knowing you have a proven template to deliver your content and flow seamlessly into your offer or call to action. Guesswork and winging it always add stress and make you much less effective and powerful.
Bonus Tip! Are you still breathing? Good. Focus and calm return in the space of a breath!