Snakes, sharks, piranhas, spiders, being buried alive – these are just some of the things people consistently say they fear less than speaking in public. On almost every list or countdown of our greatest fears, public speaking is almost always at the top. The potential for massive embarrassment makes us shutter with fear. Unfortunately for some, public speaking is a vital skill in business. Frequently you will be required to speak in front of meetings, boardrooms, and gatherings. You will not only have to communicate adequately, but eloquently as well. A good public speech could be the key to motivating your employees, frightening your competition, or convincing new customers. To be a successful entrepreneur, you simply need to overcome your fear of public speaking. Hopefully, these tips will help.
1. Find Your Biggest Critic and Get Lots of Feedback
If you are afraid of public speaking, this tip may seem absolutely terrifying. Having someone critique your speaking failures may be as appealing as rubbing salt on an open wound. However, constructive criticism is perhaps your greatest tool for improvement. Critics can point out what isn’t working and can offer you a different perspective. They can call you out on things you would have never noticed. The initial criticism may sting a little, but it will make you stronger. Knowing that you have already faced your biggest critics and survived unscathed will undoubtedly fill you with confidence when it is time to make your next speech.
Don’t write down your speech
This tip appears extremely counterintuitive. While preparation is absolutely vital to a good speech, writing it out word for word may not be the best idea. The best speakers are able to effectively utilize the language that people actually speak. Too often, prewritten speeches come off as overly formal and boring. The audience can tell when you are just reciting something prewritten and they quickly lose interest. You rarely use phrases like “In addition,” or “In contrast,” while having a normal conversation. The language of prewritten speeches can just be awkward when read out loud. In addition, one small slip up in your recital will destroy your flow and, especially if you are already timid, shatter your confidence.
Don’t let your nerves get the best of you
Everyone gets nervous and no one wants to see you stumble and fail. A small slip up is usually all it takes for a nervous public speaker to totally lose confidence. Relax. Know that you will make mistakes, and that is okay. You do not have to be perfect. If you are really passionate about what you are saying, the words will flow naturally. It may take some getting used to, but public speaking is a vital skill you can learn.