The ability to communicate your thoughts and ideas clearly in front of a group is a professional skill you’ll need to advance in your career. Developing a high level of competence and confidence in public speaking will increase the perception others have of your abilities and enhance your eligibility for promotion. However, I know that the thought of speaking to a group, can generate fear and possibly an unnerving level of anxiety. This state even has a name: glossophobia – the fear of public speaking.
Twenty five years ago I debuted conducting my first trainings and as a professional speaker I have now delivered well over 2000+ workshops and presentations since then. It may seem surprising, but I do continue to practice the following strategies to work through the normal presentation jitters.
So, if you are about to update your team on a project, having a prepared script with a compelling message, an analysis of the needs of your audience and audio/visual illustrations ready are key. Then, follow these three tips to help you get into your best presentation flow and rhythm.
Tip #1 – Be you and the best you.
There are a wealth of amazing speakers out there ranging from my personal favorite, Tony Robbins, to Les Brown, to Nick Vujicic just to name a few who have created their own unique speaking personas. And as much as I would love to be viewed as a female version of Tony Robbins, I could never emulate and capture that same style without losing some parts of myself.
So, I encourage you to identify the qualities of those speakers you admire and adopt and tap into what fits you and your personality. Encourage yourself to believe that to be a credible speaker and presenter you must bring yourself to the ‘stage’. You do not have to be anyone else but you. For example, you will more effectively facilitate a meeting and share your important messages to your team and colleagues when done with authenticity.
Tip #2 – You can be an introvert and be an exceptional speaker.
You can be an introvert and an amazing speaker however if you are an introvert you may need to drum up your extroverted persona while on ‘stage’. Most often people tend to associate shyness and introversion as analogous. These two tendencies are different from one another. You may believe that introversion and public speaking may not be aligned. However, advocating for a point of view at a team meeting is important and will get your voice and opinion on the table.
Introversion, in fact, is more about where you derive your energy and where you recharge your batteries rather than if you could speak in front of others. For example, most people don’t believe me when I say that I am an introvert. I can happily present in front of hundreds of people and do so with energy and vitality however the impact is that it does drain my energy source. Conducive to refueling for introverts, I need to do so in a quiet, solitary place. Barack Obama, Warren Buffett and Michael Jordan are all examples of exceptional public speakers and are introverts. If you are an introvert, you may need to find some private solace after conducting a training in order to re-energize.
Tip #3 – Practice the heck out of your material.
Practice, practice, practice and practice some more. For example, you may be training a new group of employees on a new process or system. To be best prepared practice in the car, practice at home, practice anywhere you can and do so out loud. Whether I am preparing for a networking event or conducting a workshop or presentation I practice what I am going to say out loud repeatedly. I do so until I feel comfortable with my presentation and delivery.
Christopher Witt recommends a three-tiered speech practice system; practice your speech in your mind, stand up and practice your speech out loud and then stand up and practice your speech in a setting like where you will be presenting.
Carmine Gallo came up with a phrase called “the magic power of 10”. He notes that if you practice your presentation out loud, with clicker in hand, at least ten times, you will be significantly more confident, comfortable and polished.
So, if you want to kick up your public speaking delivery at your next team meeting with self-assurance and credence, utilize these three tips. As Mark Twain stated, “it usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech”.