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Public Speaking Quirks

We all have our little vocal style that makes us unique. How often have you heard someone make a remark about how interesting it is the way you phrase things? We learn the way we speak from our parents and our mentors growing up. So if you ever listened to yourself speak, you would recognize the expressions you learned from your childhood.

Your vocal style is what marks you as a distinctive individual. But when you stand up in front of a crowd, that distinctive way you speak becomes the center of attention for the length of your talk. For the most part, that is what makes your presentation style enjoyable to your listeners. But sometimes how you speak can become a distraction. If you have some distinctive “quirks” that begin to dominate how you speak when you are in front of a group, that can be a big distraction to the people who are trying to enjoy your presentation.

There are some very noticeable verbal quirks that if they are affecting your ability to communicate as a speaker, they deserve attention so you can root them out of how you talk in front of people. The one that is most notable is the dreaded “um”. You no doubt have cringed listening to a speaker have to fall back on “um” during a talk. It is one of the biggest clues that the speaker is nervous, insecure or inexperienced. If you evaluate why a speaker uses “um”, it is usually one of a few things. It could be because he or she got lost in the notes of the presentation. “Um” is usually inserted to buy time because the speaker is nervous about a pause of silence.

But “Um” is not the only quirk of public speaking that can become an annoyance to a crowd. Another place holder phrase that sneaks in often is “you know”. Occasionally you even hear professional public speakers use this one and it is almost as mindless as “um”. Sometimes certain phrases become catchy for a while and if they begin to “infect” how you speak, they will become notable to your audiences but maybe not even to you. The one that seems to be making the rounds lately is “at the end of the day” which is a fine phrase, if you only use it once. But you notice when speakers use it in speaking publicly, they use it many times.

The real problem with vocal quirks is you may not know yourself that you are using them. You are so focused on your topic and your presentation that they sneak in and become a crutch for you as you speak and before you know it, they are a habit that is hard to break. But there are some things you can do to send the habit of falling back on vocal crutches packing out so your presentation is clean of them and easier to take by your audiences.

One way to pinpoint focus quirks is to record your presentation and listen to it later. Now a lot of us donĂ­t like the sound of our own voices so that is sometimes unappealing. But be brave because if you can identify any vocal quirks you might have, you have a good potential for rooting them out of your speaking patterns. Another outstanding method of just identifying which vocal habits you may use too much is to ask your friends, spouse or even your children to listen to you as you speak publicly to help locate any vocal crutches you might be using. The people who you are close with are willing to be brutally honest with you so you can become a better public speaker.

Once you know what vocal quirks plague your presentation style, make a conscious effort to get them out of how you talk. Many times we fall back on vocal quirks when we are not confident in our material. The answer for that is obvious. Practice. Know your presentation well and you will be more confident in front of people and that will help you smooth out the way you speak publicly. And by making an effort to take out irritating vocal quirks from how you speak, you are assuring those quirks are not distracting your listeners from your message. And then you will be more successful anytime you get up in front of a group of people to speak.

Job Hunting: Networking With Others is the Keys to Success

You can never underestimate the power of networking. Often success is directly proportional to the size of the social circle.
Whether you are looking for an entry level job or wanting to climb the career ladder you will need some kind of networking savvy in order to survive in the business world.

If you are looking for an entry level job your networking skills might be more important than the quality of your CV. Research shows that most jobs are obtained through contacts before the jobs even become open to the general public. In the established business world strong networking skills are shown to be one of the most powerful predictors in success. If you struggle with people skills and need some help expanding your network read on.

You will need to collect up all the business cards and contact numbers of the people you already know. Make one central place where you keep all your contacts’ information.

The Internet opens up a myriad of opportunities for those nervous about networking and interpersonal skills. With email and web sites you can reach a wider network than you ever could the ‘old fashioned way’. Even building a simple website could open up many new (international) contacts and opportunities. If you are able to effectively network online can be one of the most effective tools for those seeking jobs. Discussion forums, newsgroups, discussion groups and exchange ideas – and most importantly contact details.

There is no substitute for good old fashioned networking. You cannot replace the value of a first impression or underestimate the importance of really meeting people vs meeting online (although online meetings can reduce the stress and pressure associated with the first meeting).

If you are hesitant about networking because you lack confidence, then perhaps consider joining an organization such as Toastmasters. This is a public speaking organization which will help you build confidence and you can join from anywhere in the world. An added bonus – you will meet many new contacts and expand your circles.

Get creative with your networking. Look for opportunities to meet people and widen your social and business circles. If you are new to the job market, here are some networking strategies for first time job seekers. If you are looking for a job you need to keep expanding your network continually.

  1. Make sure you understand how to use the internet to search effectively. Use all ways you can think of to come across new opportunities as they arrive
  2. Create a spreadsheet or table, of all your contacts. Add as much information as you can: things like company names, titles, names of key contacts, phone numbers, and emails – any information you can. Leave space for notes and keep your table as organized and up to date as possible.
  3. Regular contact: this is vital to the success of your network. Use any opportunity to connect. Ask advice, offer information you think will be useful to them – find reasons to communicate. When they respond make sure to thank them. It’s important not to take your network for granted.
  4. Initiate face to face contact whenever possible.
  5. Never pass up an opportunity to get out there and network. If you are in an industry that requires more networking and socializing then limit the amount of times you may say ‘no’. For example for every 2 invitations you turn down you must attend one.
  6. Collect your contacts and feel free to call on them should the need arise.
  7. Thank your contacts whenever they do something for you. Always be polite and courteous and do your best to respond to them timorously too. You want to come across as professional.

Four Ways to Boost Your Online Business Through Networking

When you think about networking, do you visualize a bunch of people standing around schmoozing, trying to pitch their services to each other while exchanging business cards and elevator speeches?

You know, some people actually enjoy that sort of thing. And when they do it right (which is a rare talent), they reap genuine rewards. Rewards such as new clients, joint venture partners, knowledgeable advisors, helpful friendsÖ in other words, mutually beneficial relationships.

But for many of us, the idea of going to a networking event ranks right up there with bathing an angry cat. Even if we think it ought to be done, weĂ­d rather be flea food.

Donít worry. Thereís much more ñ and less ñ to networking than you think! You can reap the same wonderful rewards without having to mingle with a bunch of strangers.

Important: With any kind of networking, the key is to build powerful relationships by giving. Give your attention, advice, ideas, suggestions, support, compliments, referrals and maybe even your business to others. Give, give, give then receive more than you can imagine!

There are many ways you can get freelance work by networking, even if you hate schmoozing. Below are four powerful examples.

  1. Tell your family and friends about your online business.

This seems like a no-brainer, but youĂ­d be amazed at how many people fail to do this.

You donĂ­t have to pitch your services/products to your family and friends, but you certainly should not be keeping them secret! YouĂ­ll have many opportunities during normal conversations to mention that you enjoy internet marketing and earning money with your online activities. Just plant the seed and eventually it can grow into unexpected business.

And remember, even if your family and friends have no need for the products/services you offer, itĂ­s very likely that they know someone who does.

Key: Every person has connections to an average of 250 other people. When you decide not to mention your services to cousin Annie and neighbor Tom, youĂ­re missing an opportunity to offer your services to hundreds of people they know!

  • Engage in virtual networking.

You do this online, from the comfort of your home office. Besides the benefits of not having to deal with people face-to-face, virtual networking allows you to create contact lists and join online communities comprised of people from all over the world. Most of these people you would probably never meet in any other way. Your virtual network can grow larger and faster than any form of traditional network.

Are you on someoneís email list? (Of course you are!) When they ask for opinions, give yours. When they raise an issue thatís of interest to you, send them a response about it. If theyíre selling something you can benefit from (and it fits your budget), buy it ñ then give them positive feedback about it.

Key: Become someone they know and enjoy hearing from, rather than just one of the many anonymous names on their mailing list.

Participate in online discussion forums, especially those where your ideal clients hang out. Lurk before you leap so you donĂ­t jump in and accidentally make a fool of yourself (not good for winning clients). Read the posts, get a feel for the ambiance. When you have something worthwhile to contribute, start participating. If the forum rules allow it, include a signature block that has a link to your website. But do NOT sell your services! Give valuable advice freely. The idea is to show your knowledge, expertise and desire to help others.

Key: Eventually the forum members will get to know you, like you and trust you. The next natural step for them is to think of you when they (or people in their network) need the products/services you provide!

  • Show off your talent.

Write, write, write! Submit articles to online article directories, write reports and/or ebooks, create your own website and e-zine ñ put yourself and your knowledge/skills on display, always including your contact information. When appropriate, offer to provide free special reports or articles for people with whom youíre building connections through your virtual networking activities.

Consider giving free workshops related to your niche through your local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club or other groups. If you have a job, check into offering ĂŹbrownbagĂź (lunchtime) sessions on topics such as ĂŹ10 Tips for More Earning Money Online in Your Spare TimeĂź for your coworkers.

Key: You want to become the obvious person people will think of when they need your expertise, or the products/services you provide.

  • Attend seminars.

What types of seminars, workshops, conferences or meetings do your customers attend? Go to those events. They are networking goldmines and offer many opportunities to engage in natural conversations with people you want to meet. You donĂ­t have to schmooze or pitch your services. Just be friendly, ask questions, participate in discussions, and be yourself.

Key: YouĂ­ll not only learn about the specific issues and topics your target customers are interested in, youĂ­ll build relationships with them at the same time!

Overcoming Junk Food Cravings

Eating clean is a lifestyle, and although you may indulge in junk foods every once in a while, you will want to avoid them for the most part. This can be difficult in our food-saturated culture. Here are a few ideas and tips on how to overcome your junk food cravings when they hit you.

Keep Healthy, Convenient Food on Hand

One of the big allures of junk food is that you can usually grab it easily and eat it without a second thought. Keep healthy foods on hand that are both easy and tasty. Fruit can satisfy a sweet tooth, and you can wash a few pieces at a time and store them on the counter so that you can eat them immediately when hunger hits you.

Keep other easy clean items on hand, such as nuts and even items you have previously baked and stored in the freezer, ready to be eaten. When you meal prep, make an extra serving and keep a variety of these healthy frozen meals ready to be used when you donĂ­t have time to prepare one.

Don’t Let Yourself Get Too Hungry

Going too long between meals can be a bad idea when trying to eat well. A person who feels like they are starving is much less likely to make wise food choices than someone who is prepared and just beginning to detect the feeling of hunger. Eat your meals at a consistent time and you will find yourself better able to resist temptation.

Have Substitutes for Your Biggest Temptations

Speaking of temptations, we all have certain junk foods that have a strong appeal to us personally. Choose a substitute, and keep it on hand to enjoy when you are feeling the pull of the unhealthier version.

If chocolate is your weakness, make frozen chocolate cups out of ingredients such as almond butter, coconut oil, cocoa powder, vanilla and honey. Mix and put into tiny silicone freezer molds so that when you want that specific chocolate taste, you can pop one or two out, enjoy, and feel the craving pass.

Indulge Occasionally

Because eating clean is a lifestyle and not a diet, there will be occasional times when you indulge in what you are really craving. Keep these times few and far between, but don’t cut them out completely. Have a small piece of apple pie, a scoop of ice cream or a single serving of potato chips and eat them slowly and mindfully. Enjoy your treat and then get back on track without any feelings of guilt that may sabotage your eating goals.

Drink a Glass of Water

Often when we feel hungry and when we are craving various foods, we are actually thirsty and dehydrated. Keep a timer on your phone reminding you to drink water, or fill a jug and sip on it throughout the day. If you feel a craving, promise yourself that you will first drink two full glasses of water. By the time you are done, the craving may have passed.

When you have a craving, it is often a signal that you are not functioning in total balance. Check all of your lifestyle habits. Ask yourself whether you are getting enough sleep, or whether your craving might be boredom or your body Ă­s reaction to not getting enough exercise. If you have a craving, there are many steps you can take which can reduce or eliminate it. Try a few of them next time the feeling hits you.

If you Like Them, They Will Like You

When you see experienced public speakers, sometimes it seems they can cast a spell on an audience. You as an audience member know what that spell feels like. And one of the first evidences that this public speaker was going to keep this audience in the palm of his hand is that you almost instinctively liked him or her. And the interesting thing about that “spell” is that once you genuinely like this speaker, you naturally are open to his presentation, you listen more attentively and you are more open to suggestion if the speaker is driving to a point.

So as you prepare to begin doing some public speaking, its natural to want to know how to make that spell work for you. We all have a natural feeling of insecurity or inferiority and we worry that the audience will not like us and our presentation will go badly. So you wonder if that speaker just naturally more likeable than you or did he use some public speaking magic to make the audience like him.

The answer is twofold. First, no, that public speaker is not more likeable than you. That is just your insecurity talking to you and you need to tell that insecurity to take a hike because it is not going to do you a bit of good becoming a better public speaker. And secondly, yes there is something that public speaker knows to make his or her audience like them but no, it isn’t magic at all. It is something anyone who stands in front of a crowd can use and it will work every time.

The secret really isn’t very complicated at all. You just have to learn to like the audience. That may seem simple but buried in that idea is a powerful principle of psychology. When you step in front of a crowd and you have trained yourself to like them, it comes out in every aspect of your posture and the way you behave. You will smile more, make eye contact and actually find yourself wanting to interact with them during the course of your presentation.

Now don’t be concerned if your speech or presentation is not interactive in a dialog sort of way. But if you have spoken to a small group before, you know that there is a lot of interaction going on even during a one way speech. That speaker who charmed you that day with that “magic” knows that interaction goes on all the time. As you speak, you get feedback in the form of body language and facial expressions that let you know how you are doing. And by starting out with a fundamental warmth and affectionate relationship with an audience, that feedback is warm and affectionate as well and that only makes the presentation more of a success.

The trick to learning to like your audience lies in looking for good reasons to like them. We use the word “trick” for a good reason.’ Any reason to like them will do. You don’t have to like every individual in the audience. You might like the clothing they are wearing or the faces of individuals in the audience. You might like certain ones you know or a few you met and found a chemistry with early on. You can even like a crowd just because you find a few in that group attractive. By focusing on the ones you like, your warmth toward them will spread to the rest of the audience as you speak. Before long you will have that crowd in the palm of your hand and using that magic spell to make your presentation a success. Then you will remember this little “trick”. And you will use it often for public speaking success every time.

Clean Snacks That Will Keep You on Track

Eating clean is not about cutting all fun foods out of your diet; it is simply about changing the quality and types of food you eat. Eating clean can be just as delicious as any other way of eating, and there is a wide variety of food that will help you avoid temptation and ensure you thrive in every way. By eating a variety of tasty snacks, you will find it easier to stick to clean eating.

Here are a few ideas to keep you going when you are tempted to indulge in unhealthy foods.

Clean Trail Mix

This snack is easy to personalize, put together and keep on hand wherever you go. Simply pick your favourite nuts, dried fruits and other goodies like roasted chickpeas. Choose organic dried fruits that contain no preservatives, and choose a variety or raw and roasted nuts without any added low-quality oils.

Loaded Smoothie

A smoothie is a treat you can have every day, and with major benefits to your health. Add in a variety of fresh or frozen fruits, such as cherries, berries and mangos. Add in a large handful of greens such as kale or spinach. Put in flaxseeds, hemp hearts, and add a bit of Greek yogurt. Blend with water or fresh juice and it is ready to go.

Greek Yogurt Parfait

If you are bored of eating the same Greek yogurt day after day, make a parfait out of it. Simply use a clear glass and layer Greek yogurt, berries, organic granola and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. Swap the items occasionally when you get bored of them for a brand new treat every time you make it. Variety keeps you from getting fed up and falling back into old eating habits.

Hummus and Veggies

Hummus and veggies is a great snack to eat when you are quite hungry, because it is extremely filling. Hummus is easy to make by blending chickpeas with ingredients such as tahini, fresh garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and a bit of salt. Add any spices you enjoy such as cumin and paprika. Cut a bunch of your favorite fresh vegetables into bite-size pieces, and add black bean chips or rice cakes if you are feeling in the mood for something “chip-like.”

Energy Bites

Energy bites can be as individualized as you are. If you are the adventurous type, simply begin pouring ingredients into a huge mixing bowl. Begin with a nut butter of your choice, and add things like sesame seeds, chia seeds, cocoa powder, oat flour, honey and maple syrup. You can get as creative as you like with additional ingredients. These can be frozen and eaten any time you need a quick, healthy snack.

Kale Chips

Kale chips are a great substitute when you have a craving for unhealthy, packaged potato chips. Wash the kale and dry thoroughly, then drizzle olive oil and a shake of salt over it. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes and enjoy.

You can eat snacks that are both healthy and enjoyable. Doing so will help you push away cravings for the food you used to eat. When you are in the mood to make wrong food choices, simply choose one of these snacks instead and get back on track.

Shooting From the Hip

There is a style of public speaking that absolutely terrifies a lot of people. But when you see a public speaker speak extemporaneously, it is one of the most relaxed and easy to digest forms of public presentation it is. Now, to drop the fifty cent word, to speak extemporaneously means to speak without notes. In other words, pure extemporaneous speaking is done entirely without preparation and is done completely “from the hip” so to speak.

There are variations, however, on pure extemporaneous speaking. But if you can adapt to a more extemporaneous style, your presentation will benefit tremendously. Because people speaking directly from their minds to their audiences do not need notes, a podium or any helps at all, the level of eye contact and audience interaction is improved tremendously. Freed from being tied to a podium and an outline, you can wander free around the stage and even into the audience and speak to them almost face to face. That kind of physical motion will grab an audience’s attention and keep them fascinated with what you are doing for as long as the talk goes on.

But don’t be deceived by thinking that a extemporaneous speech is rambling and has no structure whatsoever. One reason that many very seasoned public speakers go to it is they are capable of capturing and holding the outline of their talk in their minds and speaking from that outline without the aid of notes. This kind of ability does not just come naturally. To be able to be relaxed enough in front of a crowd to not only speak spontaneously but also to do so while following an outline carried in the mind takes experience and the self confidence that comes with practice.

Giving an extemporaneous talk is equivalent to improv in the theater world. But that doesnĂ­t mean that a speaker who appears to be speaking without preparation is speaking without preparation. Often it means that what you are seeing is the result of extensive preparation. Many times extemporaneous speaking means that speaker carefully wrote and prepared that talk to have the appearance of spontaneity. Then he or she became so familiar with that outline that it could be delivered completely without prompting.

This is more than just memorization. Memorization implies that the talk must be given word for word as it was written and in exact order. A memorized speech would come unraveled if the speaker lost his or her place because of an interruption. But an extemporaneous speaker can be interrupted, take questions and even scramble that presentation because that level of familiarity with the talk is so complete that he or she literally lives and breaths what is being presented.

So, is it worth the extra work to learn to speak by “shooting from the hip”? It absolutely is. For one this, to be able to speak extemporaneously is the pinnacle of public speaking skills. When you see such a speaker on television or in a public setting, it may seem that he or she is making it up on the spot. What you are really witnessing is the Oscar level of skill and ability on display in a public speaking. Anyone who strives for the best can set extemporaneous speaking as a goal.

But more importantly, being able to speak to a group in this manner is such a higher quality of presentation that you as a speaker will not only have more fun, you will see a higher level of response from your audience. If you are teaching, they will learn better. If you are trying to sell, greater sales. If you are speaking to amuse, more laughs. So for no other reason than to see such improved outcome from the work you put in to public speaking, learn to speak extemporaneously. The rewards are tremendous.

How Well Do You Know Them?

It is often said that it is not who you know that matters, it is who knows you. Well I would like to extend this statement by saying that it is not only who you know and who knows you, but how well do you know them and they you?

In business, networking is the ultimate form of promotion. It can help you to obtain new clients, a new job, or even help you to move up the corporate ladder. It is the process of building relationships. Any time that you attend a meeting, trade show, or a social function, you are networking whether you realize it or not. It is the relationship that you have with people, a prospect or a client that makes the difference between success and failure.

Often we fail to realize the reasons that we have for doing business with an individual or a company. In the case of products that we regularly buy, what helps us to make the buying decision? There are those that will buy a specific brand of product because they trust that brand to be of a high quality or durability. There are others that will make a buying decision based on price, although this is less frequently the case. Often we simply do business because we feel good about it. In fact most purchases or decisions to do business are based on two things. Trust and comfort. Trust is a very intangible emotion or feeling. How do you measure it? How do you develop it?

Trust is measured by the feelings that are generated by a process of letting someone get to know more about you than just product, features and price. I know a gentleman who provides a seminar on selling to C-level executives. He says that to sell to the C-level executive you have to be more than a salesperson selling a product or service. To sell to the executive level, you have to be more of an advisor. You have to find needs other than the ones that you can fulfill and help them to fulfill these needs. In doing this, you become a “trusted advisor”. They feel “comfortable” that you have their interests in mind more than just making a quick sale and a commission.

In our daily process of seeking prospective clients, do we often just look for a person to pitch, or do we spend a bit more time getting to know them before we try to sell?

When we take the time to know a persons desires, dreams, and needs, and make an honest effort to help them realize that these things are important to us, we are really on the fast track to doing business with them. We are building the trust, confidence, comfort level, and most importantly the relationship that is needed to not only make the sale, but to create in them a resource for endless referrals.

As we go into the community meeting people who are prospective clients, we should keep the following in mind. The customer is a person just like me. The customer has needs other than the one that I can fulfill. Until I understand what the ultimate goal or dream of the prospect is, I cannot fulfill it with my product or service.

Selling and networking are about relationships. You sell in everything that you do whether you realize it or not. The time is now for more effective selling. Change the way you think about the prospect and the prospect will change the way that they think about you.

Don’t Fear the Pause>By Generation Success

If you listen to experienced speakers, it’s easy to see some real differences in how they step through their presentation than maybe how you go about giving a talk when you are called upon to speak in public. But it is a good exercise to use every opportunity to listen to different public speakers and learn from them. From speakers who are not effective, study why they are and learn how to correct those problems in your presentation. For speakers who are very good, learn what they do that works and copy their methods without shame. It’s all part of learning from each other.

One thing that jumps out when an experienced public speaker is holding an audience in the palm of his hand is that he is totally relaxed up there. That is a calculated relaxation. In fact most of the methods he uses such as his use of hands, the vocal range of his voice, where he looks and how he moves are all carefully planned and part of that presentation and who that speaker is. And all of those things come with time and practice. So if you need a few times in front of a group, or a few dozen times before you can begin to get that relaxed, be generous with yourself and allow that public speaking is the kind of thing that you can read about all day long but you donĂ­t get good at it until you get good at it.

One thing that very often jumps out in a speaker who is at ease with his style is that for most of us the idea of a pause is terrifying. But notice smooth speakers often will pause and allow that moment of quiet in a presentation to just hang there. When that pause happens for that other speaker, you may have felt as terrified as if it was happening to you. But not to worry. As you noticed, that skilled speaker uses pauses to create interest and isn’t afraid to let his presentation stop for a moment either intentionally or to check notes or make some other adjustment.

The pause is actually a very powerful communications tool that if you can master it, you can use it to make points, add drama or just wake up an audience that may have begun to doze off on you. That is because as you speak along, if your presentation is somewhat long, it is easy for people to be lulled into an unintentional trance of sorts. The mind can wander and that is the condition people get into when they doze off as you speak. They track to the continuous sound of your voice and the melodic tempo that you naturally fall into when you speak in public.

When you begin to use pauses and changes to the tempo of your presentation, you break that natural rhythm of your talk. The pause will jar the audience back to you and they will suddenly be attentive with that “what did I miss” look on their faces. That is a real tool to you to help your audience stay focused and to use particularly when you are approaching a point that is an important part of what you have to say.

Most of us when we are just starting out in public speaking fear the pause in our presentation in the worst way. That moment when you are not speaking and that audience is looking at you and nothing is happening can feel like you are falling to your death. But in truth, all you have done is focus the concentration of the group on you and on your talk. So don’t fear the pause. If used with caution and sparingly, it can be a powerful communications tool to help you make your point.

Deer in the Headlights: By Generation Success

People who make their living researching what frightens people the most have made a pretty amazing discovery. Consistently when people list the top five things they are afraid of in life, they have are some pretty intimidating terrors. But you would think that death would rank number one on that list. But death doesnĂ­t take number one, it has to settle for number two. Amazingly, the number one thing that terrifies most people is not death, it is public speaking. A popular comedian once said that this means that people would rather be the guy in the casket at a funeral than the guy giving the eulogy.

If you have ever been in a meeting listening to a speaker, you can usually tell if they are terrified. They will get up there and you will see that “deer in the headlights” look. You know that look. It is one of extreme fear, panic, and terror so profound that the person is frozen in place unable to speak of move. And if you have ever been that guy or gal in front of a group giving the “deer in the headlights” look, you know the feeling of terror that happens in front of a group of people can be pretty awful.

So if you know that public speaking is going to be part of your job or something you have to regularly, you have to find a way to neutralize that fear and be able to relax in front of a crowd when you speak. How often have you sat and listened to a speaker who was relaxed, funny, bright and even able to field questions with no difficulty at all? It’s easy to admire that kind of public speaker and think that he or she has some magical powers that you will never get. But they don’t have magic. That speaker has just learned some techniques for neutralizing those fears so he or she can appear relaxed and as though he or she is having fun up there. It’s not an inborn talent. ItĂ­s a skill which can be learned.

Of course a lot of the ability to look out at a sea of faces who want to hear what you want to say and not feel sick comes from experience. But experience teaches you things that you can at least understand before you become an old pro at public speaking. One of those things is that the crowd out there doesnĂ­t know what to expect. If you broke down why you feel terrified in front of people, it’s that you think that they think they know what they want and that you are being judged.

But to understand what people really expect when they are looking at you at the podium on stage, just remember the last time you heard someone speak. You had no predefined idea what was about to be said and you probably had no outline or any frame of reference what that speaker was going to say. That means that even if you don’t deliver your speech perfectly, they will never know that! As long as you don’t let on that you are nervous or not sure about your material, they won’t know if you got it wrong. If you forget an entire segment of your speech, as long as what you do say flows nicely and they never know you forgot it, the people listening will think your speech was just fine and will probably applaud.

Also remember that you are not really speaking to a group. The group has no ears. You are speaking to several individuals. When you are listening to a speaker, you are one person listening to one person. That is how each person in that audience is receiving you, as individuals. So if you speak to them as though they are one person, not a crowd, your presentation will be warm and personal and very successful. And the crowd will like you to which helps a lot.

Just remember that their expectations of you are fairly low and for the most part, people hearing you speak want you to succeed. So smile at them, use a bit of humor and use that little insider tip to relax up there. And when you can relax, you can actually have fun at public speaking rather than wishing you were the guy in the casket instead.

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