Public Speaking. Speaking in Public. Speaking to a large group of people. Speaking to a room full of your peers. There is an old adage that says some people fear public speaking more than death. I have never understood that because the opportunity of sharing to a group of people is one of my greatest pleasures. I love to make people laugh, cry, relate and to encourage and motivate them. If this is an area that you struggle with, I may have learned a few things that will help you.
One of the most important things you must learn is what you do in the first six seconds. If you walk up to the microphone and start to speak before you get there, it shows your nervousness. First impressions are huge and you want to give a good one. So, the first six seconds – don’t say a word. Pick up your microphone, look at your audience and smile. In these first six seconds your audience is analyzing you. They don’t hear what you say until they have had a good look at you.
Of course, it is necessary to present yourself well in your appearance but, and this is a very big BUT, it is not what you wear or even necessarily what you say that is the most important. You can enunciate perfectly. You can be the greatest orator. You can articulate clearly. However, if it comes from a cold place, your audience will perceive it and inevitably tune you out almost immediately. As you become aware of this, it makes you even more nervous.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. That bears repeating. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. It does not matter what you are speaking about, do it with passion. You cannot find passion in a book. You cannot find passion in any store. No website sells passion. Your passion comes from within and people will recognize it very quickly.
I have been in sales most of my life and I have never sold anything I am not passionate about. I am a health coach and a lot of people that arrive at my office are in a desperate place. They are looking for answers. They need help.
When I was in my twenties a doctor told me I had two choices. I could have a hysterectomy or die within two years. He was just that cold about his diagnosis. An anger rose up inside me and I stood up in front of his desk and said “I will not accept those choices. I will find an alternative!” He then stood up, shook his finger in my face and said “Then, Lady, go home…suffer… and die!” With even more rage I retorted “I will walk in here pregnant one day!” And I did – 14 years later.
I determined that I would help as many people with their health issues as I could, for the rest of my life. When I make recommendations to people, sometimes it is difficult for them to accept the fact that they can get better. Many times, someone will say to me, “I want to believe you, but it is difficult. However, one thing I am sure about and that is, I know you care. And for that reason, I am willing to trust what you are telling me.”
My point is, you need to be passionate about what you are speaking about and people will listen. When you are speaking in public, you are selling yourself first, your product second.
Speaking to a group is like giving a gift to someone. When you do it from a place of love and compassion, you are not doing it because you have to, you are doing it because you want to. This is key to being a success.
So, how can being warm and fuzzy help me when I speak in public? It does not matter what you are talking about. It does not matter what you are selling. If you believe in what you are doing, if you are passionate about your subject, your audience will notice and reciprocate – making you very comfortable and relaxed. So when you are preparing your speech, think about what it really means to you. Why is it important to you? How can your product or service benefit others? Think of what your audience needs and how you can give it to them. They will recognize your motive and you will be successful.