Being an entrepreneur doesn’t make you immune to public speaking anxiety but it’s worth overcoming if you want to promote your expertise and grow your business. Finding and taking every opportunity you can to speak at events, conferences and even on the radio can give you a level of exposure that even Google would be envious of.
Speaking of Google, whilst you’re busy paying them to advertise for you, or someone else to raise your online search profile, public speaking offers an exciting, fun and worthwhile route to grow your business. There are a great number of ways to reduce the level of anxiety you may associate with public speaking to help you extend your reach and promote your business with impact.
Here are just a few of them:
1. Don’t speak from the heart
One of the most common reasons people don’t think they need public speaking training or coaching is because they think that all they have to do is ‘speak from the heart’ and all will be fine. On its own it’s not enough, it’s an attitude which can lead to failure and more importantly, it’s an approach which does your audience a huge disservice.
Your audience don’t want to see a slick, polished speaker on the platform, but equally they don’t want to see someone who hasn’t fully prepared for them. They may know you’re an expert but what they really care about is how your expertise can help them.
That means you have to do your homework and leave nothing to chance.
Find out as much as you possibly can about who they are, what they care about and the challenges they face that you can help them with. Don’t simply rely on their website, Linkedin or Google. Pick up the phone or send them an email; make it personal.
Once you’ve done everything you can to put yourself in their shoes then you can ‘speak from the heart’ with the specific aim of connecting with theirs.
2. Make them an offer they can’t refuse
The quote from the classical film ‘The Godfather’, ‘make him an offer he can’t refuse’, has become something of a legend. However, it doesn’t apply to Hollywood blockbusters alone; it’s the very essence of every great presentation or public speech. Just because you believe in, and are so passionate about what you have created, how will it help your audience?
Why should they listen?
Why should they care?
What’s in it for them?
Your job is to make them a promise that you can keep which they will find very hard to refuse.
3. Prepare with PURPOSE
The reason you do what you do and you care about what you do is because you started your business with a very clear purpose. When you are extolling the virtues of what you do with others you need to also have a purpose.
When it comes to presenting what you do publicly, it’s not enough to simply tell people. You also need to decide in advance what it is that you want them to do the moment you finish speaking and how you want them to feel. The fact is that unless you have made them feel something its highly unlikely that they will do what you want them to do.
The next time you craft a presentation be clear on your purpose.
What is your purpose?
Once you are clear on exactly what it is and how it will help your audience then make sure you craft and deliver your presentation with it.
Research suggests that when you give people a lot of information it’s quite likely that they will remember something you said very early on. That alone promotes an opportunity to make sure that the first thing we say is something that will definitely capture our audience’s attention. Don’t spend the first five minutes telling them who you are and how pleased you are to be there. Say, show or do something that will immediately capture their interest and curiosity.
Focus on making them feel that they are glad they went to the trouble to come to listen to you and they can’t wait to hear what comes next.
Most people don’t look forward to attending or sitting through presentations because they believe that they have ‘heard it all before’.
Our job as presenters and public speakers is to do whatever we can to ensure that our approach and presentation is different; it’s unusual. Don’t do what everyone else does, challenge the status quo, be creative and dare to be different.
Tell them short, relevant and powerful stories, use compelling visuals, ask thought provoking questions and make them smile too.
As the late Zig Ziglar once said “Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment”
Imagine this, you have finished giving your presentation and your audience can’t wait to tweet your key message to the rest of the world.
Whatever it is you would like them to tweet is your message and they won’t hear it until you’ve repeated it several times.
Make sure you repeat your key message and keep it short, simple but powerful.
At Mindful Presenter our message is: “When it comes to presenting, connecting is everything”.
Regardless of your status, role, experience or expertise the one thing we all have in common is that the only thing we really care about is ourselves. That means that when we are presenting to an audience we have to make sure that everything we say, show and do is personal to them. There can be no exceptions to that rule and if you choose to make one you can be absolutely certain that your audience will simply filter and completely disregard anything that isn’t personal to them.
The route to ensuring that your presentation is personal to your audience is imagining that they stop you after every sentence and ask, ‘so what, why should I care about tha?t’. If you don’t have an answer that’s personal to them they will soon tune out.
Being professional doesn’t mean you have to speak as the ‘corporate spokesperson’ and it certainly doesn’t mean you have to be deadly serious all of the time. Your audience want you to be ‘open’; that means open gestures, open vocally, and open emotionally.
Give them a glimpse of the real you, let them into your world by sharing something personal about yourself that they can relate to.
If all you want to share is facts, data and insights then do your audience a favour and just send them an email. If you truly want to connect with them and be remembered, then tell them a story. Whatever you do though, make sure it is short, relevant and compelling.
Stories are how we learn and visualise information and if you view your entire presentation as a story board you are far more likely to engage your audience. A great story takes people on a journey they haven’t been on before but will remember for some time so breathe life into your information with stories.
I believe that energy and enthusiasm is the jewel in the crown of public speaking. Make absolutely certain that you craft and deliver your presentation with energy and enthusiasm otherwise I can promise you that they will forget most of what you said before they return to their car or desk.
You are the expert and your audience simply want to learn about how you can help them with your expertise.
There are no rules when it comes to presenting but there is one thing that you need to keep in mind that every wants from you. They want the information, data and knowledge crafted and delivered in a way that will not only understand but will make them feel something too.
“Connecting is everything.”
I really hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please feel free to share it through your preferred social media channels below and subscribe to our mailing list so you won’t miss any future posts.
If this article has inspired you to learn a little more about how effective your presentation skills are you may want to take a look at our presentation training and presentation coaching pages to see how we may be able to help you. You will also find a great deal of really helpful ‘free’ information in our Learning Centre.
Image courtesy of: flickr.com