Fear of Public Speaking Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
Public Speaking

Conquer Your Fear of Public Speaking

People have ranked the fear of public speaking higher than the fear of dying. They would rather be in the coffin than giving the eulogy at a funeral.   Standing and talking to an audience can be frightening, especially if it is for more than a couple of minutes. As a business owner, you may find yourself giving a sixty-second weekly presentation at a networking meeting, a ten-minute presentation at a chamber function, or a forty-minute educational presentation to a prospect. Take a deep breath, you can do it.

Five Tips to Conquer Your Fear of Public Speaking:

1) Prepare, prepare, prepare.

Do not wing it!  Prepare an outline of what you want to say and practice it.  Print out your remarks in a very large font. It will be easier to read with or without your glasses.  Plus, this will help you to not lose your place in your presentation.

2) Be specific and talk about the things you know best.

Do not try to teach everything you do.  Instead, focus on sharing with the audience something of significance.  Focus on just one or two areas of your business, the topics you feel you understand the best. This will increase your comfort level and reduce stress.

3)  Use visuals or PowerPoint slides to support your presentation. 

If you are worried about stage fright, these can help you stay focused and add to your presentation. You will be less fearful when the audience is looking at something besides you.  Avoid reading from your PowerPoint slides.  Create slides with photos and graphics that tell your story without text. PowerPoint should support your presentation, not be your presentation.

4) Remember, you are the expert. 

In the eyes of the audience, you are the expert and they want to hear what you have to say.  They want to learn something from you.  If you focus on what you know best, you will feel more confident and be more credible.  Believe in yourself and in your message.

5)  Be creative. 

Find a way to communicate that makes you comfortable.  Don’t be afraid to be different.  Surprise your audience.  Walk around the stage or up into the seats.  People get tired of the same old approach and are invigorated by something unexpected.  Have fun with your message; it will help you turn your nervous energy into positive energy.  The audience will feel it and before you know it, your fear of public speaking is gone.

You should do a presentation that you feel comfortable with. Think creatively about what you know and what you feel comfortable doing to express that knowledge. You will become better and better at public speaking. You will discover that opportunities will develop to speak publically in larger audiences over time. Take a breath. It is good to be a little nervous.  Just convert that into positive energy, and you will have the audience in the palm of your hand.

Does the Thought of Introducing Yourself at Networking Meetings Make You Panic?

If the thought of giving a brief introduction of yourself and your business at networking meetings makes your palms sweat, read on . . .

When participating, even as a guest, in various networking meetings or functions, the fact is that you will be required to introduce yourself sooner or later.  Preparing a script for introducing yourself will improve your results.  One of your scripts should be an overview of what you do.  Other presentations can address various aspects of your product or service.  Here’s the script sequence I recommend:

  • Your name
  • Your business or profession
  • Brief description of your business or profession
  • Benefit statement of one of your products or services
  • Your name again

Your name and your business profession are easy enough.  A brief description and a benefit statement can be separate items,  but more often they are intertwined in your message.  It’s fairly easy to combine your business with the benefits of your product or service.  I suggest telling people what you do, as well as what you are:

“I’m a financial planner and I help people plan for their future”  or “I’m an advertising and marketing consultant; I help companies get the most out of their advertising dollar.”  These explanations are more effective than saying, “I do financial planning,” or “I plan advertising campaigns.”

In many situations, you’ll be introducing yourself to only one or two people at a time.  Some networking organizations have all the members stand at each meeting, and in round-robin fashion, give a one-minute overview to the entire group.  If you’re a member of a group like this, it is vitally important to vary your presentations.

Many people who are in networking groups that meet every week have a tendency to say the same old thing, time after time.  From what I’ve seen, many weekly presentations are done weakly.  If you don’t vary your presentations, many people will tune you out when you speak because they’ve already heard your message several times.  Your best bet is to give a brief overview, then concentrate on just one element of your business for the rest of your presentation.

If you prepare your brief introduction using these techniques, you will begin to get much more confident at introducing yourself and, what’s better, you’ll begin to get better networking results.  If you try introducing yourself in this way at your next networking meeting or function,

I’d love to hear how it turns out for you–please come back and share your experience in the comments section.  Or, if you’ve already done some things to help you with this issue – share them with us now.  Thanks!

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