Public speaking is my passion – which sounds crazy because public speaking is one of the world’s most common phobias.
Glossophobia, the fear of public speaking, occurs in approximately 75% of the population. So how did it become my passion? I believe one of the key factors is because many years ago when speaking at an event I realized that presenting the speech had very little to do with me, it was really about my audience. Focusing on the audience helped calm my nerves and twist my energy into excitement about sharing a topic I was experienced with.
A few “quick tips” to help focus on the audience and calm nerves:
- Teach them something new. Even if it is a subject they know a lot about, the audience will be more engaged if you can share new information or share information in a way that maybe they have never considered before. The same old information that they have heard over and over will not get you or your audience excited, will not gain the audience’s interest or hold their attention.
- Help them process the information. The brain processes information in an organized manner. If you do not present information in this way your audience will just be listening to bursts of information that will be difficult for them to remember. Meaning the information will be going in one ear and right out the other. A common practice is to organize much like a book – a beginning, middle and end. Many speakers like to group their thoughts into groups of 3 – this helps the listener absorb and process the information in an organized manner.
- Take the job seriously. When I am asked to give a presentation, for me it is a big deal and I know it is my responsibility to educate, entertain, persuade, etc. the audience. Preparation is key and will help lessen the nervousness even more. So when you are asked to give your next presentation, take a moment to think about the audience first and how you will prepare to carry out the job for them.
Ok, yes in reality not everyone is going to love public speaking, but I do believe more people can easily learn to enjoy it. What a powerful opportunity it is when asked to speak to an audience, next time you have this opportunity be prepared to share new information in a clearly organized speech. If you focus more on the audience and less on yourself, you will be less nervous and they will be more engaged.
Hope you enjoy these tips – helping you move public speaking from phobia to fun!