The fear of presenting is rampant throughout corporate America.
Although, many Americans realize the importance of being able to speak well and understand how beneficial it is for their career, it still causes many people to use every strategy possible to avoid speaking in front of an audience irrespective of the environment or size of the crowd.
I must admit I was at one point one of the 74%. Until one day, I faced the fear and began the journey of moving towards being more comfortable and less fearful of public speaking. Along the way, I learned the art of making the process more fun for the audience and myself.
Last week was a great example as I gave a speech to a group of professional women in real estate and I was astounded by the happiness I derived from the experience and how much I enjoyed engaging with the audience. Here are my 6 stellar presenting strategies:
1. It Has Nothing To Do With You
The main reason people don't enjoy public speaking as they are fearful that they will make a fool of themselves in front of others or they will embarrass themselves and be subject to ridicule.
The cold, harsh reality is whilst you may be the one speaking, you are there to convey an important message to the audience. When you shift your focus to the audience and make it all about them, you are able to more effectively communicate your key messages.
2. Love The Unknown
Public speaking is simply another way to communicate with others and when you embrace the unknown, you have more fun and engage with the audience.
So what if the power point presentation you spent days on doesn't work, who cares if you slip up and make a mistake or say the wrong word. Whatever you say or don't say is perfect.
Embracing the unknown reduces the pressure you put on yourself and the audience gets to see the 'real' you rather than a 'performer' putting on a show.
3. Journey of Fun & Laughter
Public speaking is like anything in life. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
One of the keys is learning to have fun with it. This makes you automatically feel more at ease and helps you to go with the flow. What seems like a big deal in the moment is often a small matter afterwards. By watching your audience laugh and have fun, it generates feelings of relaxation and confidence within.
4. Feel Connected
The first speech I did a few years ago, flowed easily and naturally as I was truly connected to what I was talking about and connected with the audience to the point that I made several women cry.
It was a subject dear to my heart, I felt exceptionally comfortable although I did not practice prior. Fortunately, I was lucky that it went very smoothly however this is definitely not something I would not recommend especially if you are speaking in front of a large audience.
The next speech I did was in front of my business community and this time despite practicing, I felt exceptionally disconnected from the message I wanted to convey. There was something missing and days prior I felt a massive amount of resistance to delivering the speech.
However, I don't like to back away from a challenge and went ahead. The experience was absolutely disastrous and I felt completely mortified. In hindsight, it was a powerful lesson and a great learning curve. The key is that when you speak to an audience feel connected from the depths of your soul to your message.
5. Passion & Practice Equals Perfect
Practice really does make perfect, every phenomenally talented speaker would agree wholeheartedly.
When you know your speech exceptionally well you can play with it, mix it up and change it along the way particularly when you are able to retain a calm composure. Having passion for the topic you are speaking on makes your speech far more engaging, inspirational and fun for both you and the audience.
Last week, I felt like I could have talked for hours about mindset as I am so inspired and truly believe in the message I am communicating.
6. Two-Way Street
Back to point number one, the speech is not about you.
It is all about effectively communicating with your audience. When you engage your audience to comprehend your message, they recall the information. That is why the most outstanding speakers are paid exceptionally well as their audience can recall the message.
Last week, I was blissfully happy to see the audience fully participating and laughing during one of my activities I used to emphasis my message on mindset. Remember, that speaking is a two-way street.
The truth is that speaking can be a lot of fun and you learn from the audience just as much as the audience learns from you.
Fear is seriously overrated so I encourage you to dive in the deep end; shift your focus from you to the audience, craft a message you are connected to, be passionate and know your content inside and out, practice like a demon and make it a two-way street. When you fully engage in the process you will find the fun and the fear will disappear.