As a small business owner, it’s likely that you’re used to some form of speaking or presenting to a crowd. Whether it’s your own employees, a group at a business event, or while giving a sales pitch, a good part of your job involves talking to others and trying to convince them to take some sort of action.
But just because you do it a lot doesn’t mean you’re necessarily all that comfortable with it; for many, public speaking is an instant cause of nerves and discomfort, even if they’ve done it countless times. It’s an extremely common fear, but with the help of some select strategies, you can overcome it when it’s time to hit the podium.
Michael Hyatt, a public speaker and writer who writes on “personal development, leadership, productivity, platform, and publishing” and works to “create insightful, relevant content that you can put to work in your personal and professional life”, recently wrote an article entitled How to Get Over Your Fear of Public Speaking. As you might have guessed, it offers a look at some tactics you can use in order to be more comfortable when you’re giving a speech or presentation – and as Mr. Hyatt trains public speakers for a living, this is coming from quite a reliable source.
Starting the article with the revelation that he himself used to suffer from quite a bit of anxiety before addressing an audience, Mr. Hyatt goes on to say:
“Everything shifted when I started focusing on my audience.
I started asking myself, What are their needs? How do they feel? How can I best serve them?
Suddenly, my anxiety disappeared. Not all at once, but incrementally, as my focus shifted from me to them.
Now, I usually can’t wait to speak. Occasionally, I slip back into the old pattern, but at least now I know how to fix it.”
It sounds simple, but (judging by the fact that he publically speaks and also teaches people how to do so for a living), it seems to have worked. By focusing on the needs of the people listening to him instead of how he thought he was doing, Mr. Hyatt was able to quell his fears and concentrate on delivering a quality presentation that met his original goal of benefitting his audience.
The article continues with this:
“The question I always ask myself right before I step to the podium is this:
What are the gifts I want to give those attending the event?”
This reiterates the central theme of Mr. Hyatt’s strategy, and puts into perspective the most effective method he’s found for ensuring he’s calm before a presentation. When you’re engaging in public speaking, the people that are listening to you are listening to you for a reason: mainly, that they want to benefit in some manner from your expertise. Mr. Hyatt’s advice – to focus on this fact, and this fact only – could help you forget about your nerves and remember what it is you have to offer your audience.
In the article, Mr. Hyatt also says he has three gifts he focuses on giving the attendees of his events. Here’s one:
“The Gift of Courage. When people come hear someone speak, they are often demoralized and ready to quit. Even if the speaker gives them the knowledge they need, fear may keep them from acting on it. (Never underestimate the power of fear!)
My goal is to engage their hearts. I must convince them they have what it takes to succeed. So must you.”
Focusing on the fact that attendees are there to listen to you and benefit from your knowledge and experience should help you get the confidence to speak in an influential and encouraging manner, helping give them the courage they need to take the action you want them to take. It all stems from Mr. Hyatt’s recommendation that you let your audience’s needs overcome your nerves.
Whether or not you own a small business, this article is great for anyone in a position that requires public speaking – and it comes from a renowned expert on the subject, which always helps. We’d recommend giving it a read if you’d like to learn how to start overcoming any existing fears you may have regarding speeches or presentations.
Does public speaking make you nervous? Do you have any strategies to help calm yourself down before a presentation? What did you think of the tips in this article?
Your thoughts are always welcome, so let us know!