Let’s talk talking.
Or in particular – public speaking.
Supposedly it’s a huge fear for many, many people and in fact I’m sure you’ve all heard that statistic floating about that states it’s actually the BIGGEST fear people have. Like more than spiders. Or snakes. Or death by fire.
Now I’m willing to admit that I just do not get that, likely because a) I absolutely loathe snakes and b) I only now recognise how fortunate I was to have a teacher encourage me to use my voice in debating and public speaking competitions. I know that Mr Campbell doing that saw me grow up having no fear of speaking in front of others like I know some do. It’s a gift he gave me that has kept on giving to me all my life and is now a major part of what I do in my business. I’m forever grateful.
If someone was to ask me what was one of the most important life skills you could ever develop I would have no hesitation in saying that being ok speaking in front of others would be one of them. And as a entrepreneurial and business skill? Oh wow. It’s UP UP UP there as one of THE most vital things you should get a handle on for your business success. Why? Because if you can take the passion for what you do – no matter what it is – and learn how to talk about it on a panel, at a conference, a networking function or anywhere your ideal clients or audience might be – you can become like honey for bees, jam for a croissant and chocolate for me. Instant attraction. Instant attraction that will see you be able to take your message and your work up and out from a computer screen and into the eyes and ears of a live audience.
So given what I consider to be its importance – I wanted to share with you all the Top Ten Beautiful You Public Speaking Tips. I live by these tips and I get paid to speak to audiences on everything from body love to business success. Take them and run with them beautiful you and know, truly know, that if you’re wondering whether or not you should take a class, enrol in a course, or simply practice more to be a better public speaker – you most absolutely, definitely, without question should. Not only could it open up connections to a whole host of new readers for your blog and clients for your business but even a new income stream for you. Now wouldn’t THAT be nice!
Know Your Topic. Seems so simple but sometimes not. Put bluntly – no matter what is being offered to you do not agree to speak about anything that you do not know really well and can back up with your life experience, knowledge or studies. You might be surprised at how many times someone may need to ‘fill a spot’ or need a speaker for something but if it’s really not you or your area of passion or expertise…do not do it. It’s a surefire way to create more nervousness than is required and potentially see your lack of enthusiasm for the topic come through.
Be Prepared. Those Girl Guides are on the money with this one. Always, but always arrive well ahead of time to your venue to double and triple check that everything you need to give your presentation is there and working. Would you like to know how many times on average I arrive somewhere to speak and there is an issue with a microphone, a lectern, the data projector or even the entire booking of a room? I kid you not – about HALF the time. This is not necessarily anyone’s ‘fault’ – sometimes things just happen, and if you are not there ahead of time to assist and ensure you have what you need…queue panic two minutes before you have to start.
Practice. Even if you are a seasoned public speaker and know your topic incredibly well, I don’t believe you can forego preparation and practice. Go over it as many times as you need. How many times did I practice my Tedx Talk which I had to give for 15 minutes with no notes, knowing that it would be videotaped and sent around the internet? I counted. And so did my husband who listened to it every single time. 23 times. Yes. 23.
Know That What You Have To Say Is Important. You are important. Your message and work is important. You have been invited to share that with others and they want to hear you. Do not downplay or belittle yourself in any way out of a false sense of modesty or holding back. Rise to the occasion of bringing your best self to the people who have seen something in you that they believe others want to experience. Treat yourself in the same positive and uplifting way that they are and step out on that stage or up out of your seat with the confidence you need.
Wear Comfortable Clothes. High heels are not my friend. I very rarely wear them. Even weddings these days are not likely to get a guernsey. It’s vital that when you’re presenting you are wearing clothes and shoes that you feel great in and apart from what they look like – comfort comes first. Go with that dress or jacket or shoes that you absolutely love and that love you back. You will stand taller and look and feel more confident as a result. Note: The size of the dress or jacket or shoes? Irrelevant. Irrelevant to the highest order.
Your Audience Want You To Do Well. One of the things I often hear people say that prevents them from speaking is that they are petrified that the audience will laugh at them (when they’re not trying to be funny) or stare blankly or simply not want them to do well. Fact is that your audience desperately wants you to do well. Desperately. They do not want to see you be nervous or unsure or stumble. They are there for a reason and they absolutely are your friend and want nothing but good for you. And if you genuinely think you’re walking into a hostile environment and are not an experienced speaker who can stand up and give them ‘what for’ – it’s not your gig. Walk away.
Be OK With Not Being Perfect. I’ve made many mistakes when speaking in public before. I know sometimes I shuffle my feet more than I should and yes, I’ve said um before and likely will again. But that makes me human, and of course you’re human too. Mistakes don’t matter. Perfection is a myth. What matters most is that you’re out there doing it. You’re in the arena and on the stage. When others are wishing they could summon the courage.
Say Yes To Opportunities. If someone asks you ‘Could you talk about that to our Mothers Group?’ or ‘Would you be interested in being on the panel?’ ‘Can I ask if you would say something to them?’….say yes. Just.say.yes. Even if your knees are knocking and you’re not sure how you’re going to do it or even through it – say yes. You will find a way through practice, asking for help, getting feedback and being your best self to do what’s asked of you and do it really well. But it will never happen if you say no. So say yes.
Create Opportunities. People are always on the lookout for speakers about topics and things that are as numerous as the number of people on the planet. Do not be afraid to put yourself forward both in person or on your business cards or online as someone who is prepared to talk about your areas of passion and expertise. You can create incredible opportunities for yourself to meet amazing people, gain new clients, connect with readers of your blog and so much more. And you don’t have to wait for the invites to come. You can put yourself out there and then watch the yeses roll in.
Be Yourself. Above all beautiful you please be yourself. The way you speak in public should simply be an extension of who you are in conversation and real life. Public speaking is not performing. It’s not an act. It’s you on a stage or behind a microphone sharing yourself and your message. If you’re a more shy and introverted person do not think you have to become a circus act of extroversion to be a great speaker. Have you ever heard Wayne Dyer speak? He who commands tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars an hour? So softly spoken. So gentle. So measured. So quiet. And so brilliant. And if you’re naturally exuberant – bust it out baby. The best and most beautiful speakers are those who are wholly themselves. Nothing else. Those who are connect and engage and inspire others in a way that only they can do. And you have that within you because no one can manufacture you and what you are passionate about.
Take the stage beautiful you. You have a story and message to share and I and others want in. Make this year the one you’ll make it happen.