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Public Speaking: You, Too, Can Rock It!

Public speaking: it can energize and engage and motivate you… and it can also be daunting and stressful if you have a fear of it. According to the Chapman University Survey on American Fears, which examined American fears and anxieties across a variety of topics such as personal safety, the government, disasters and more, 25% of Americans have a fear of public speaking. Many professions require individuals to speak in public at some point—whether in a training or perhaps at an event. If you’re one of the people who have a fear of public speaking, there are ways to help you overcome this anxiety and to become a successful public speaker!

Brenton Hayden, founder of Renters Warehouse, shares his experience with public speaking and offers tips about how to beat your fear of public speaking—and if you’re already okay with it, how to fine-tune and create a successful and memorable presentation:

  • Prepare: This is a no-brainer. The first step to a successful public speaking engagement is to do your research, practice and head into it completely prepared. Know the audience and make notes ahead of time. Rehearse with some friends or colleagues and ask for feedback.
  • Loosen up: Relax and get motivated! Listening to music has been shown to have a profound physiological effect on people—try blasting your favorite tune to get psyched before the presentation.
  • Be human: Tell personal stories and be real. Try not to put yourself on a ‘level above’ the audience. If you let the audience in on your true emotions, you’ll gain their trust.
  • Pause: Getting through the presentation may be the only thing you’re thinking about when you take the stage, but in order to calm your nerves and deliver a great presentation, remember to breathe and pause! After you make a point or finish a story, take a big deep breath and pause. This will help you to relax and will let the information sink in with the audience.
  • Don’t try to sell something: No one likes to feel like they’re being sold to—especially at a presentation or keynote speech! Your presence on stage is enough—stay away from a sales pitch. Instead, share your contact information at the end to encourage follow ups or additional questions.
  • Be willing to make some mistakes: No one is perfect. You may not remember every single word that you practiced, but that is okay! Practice makes perfect. Keep presenting in front of an audience and you will get better at public speaking—it’s just a matter of time!

While you may not love the task, these tips will help you get through public speaking a bit easier! Remember to keep it light and try not impose an extreme amount of wisdom all at once—break it down into two or three key takeaways that you want the audience to leave with. Are there any additional tips you would recommend to others starting their journey into public speaking? Share with us!

To read about more tips to perfect your public speaking experience, visit: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/248937.

Thanks for reading and until next time… stay WISE!

2 Comments

  1. Richard I. Garber August 26, 2015 Reply

    Lindsay:

    Excellent suggestions. The 25% you quoted for fear of public speaking probably came from here in the Washington Post:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2014/10/30/clowns-are-twice-as-scary-to-democrats-as-they-are-to-republicans/

    There are five percentages listed in the Chapman Survey though. I blogged about them all:
    http://joyfulpublicspeaking.blogspot.com/2015/01/is-public-speaking-universally-feared.html

    It’s important to note that 34.1% were Not Afraid At All, 36.6% were Somewhat Afraid, 16.5% were Afraid, and just 8,8% were Very Afraid. The other 4% didn’t answer (Refused). What the Washington Post listed (25.3%) was the sum for Afraid and Very Afraid.

  2. Richard I. Garber August 26, 2015 Reply

    Lindsay:

    Excellent suggestions. The 25% you quoted for fear of public speaking probably came from here in the Washington Post:

    There are five percentages listed in the Chapman Survey though. I blogged about them all in a post on January 5, 2015

    It’s important to note that 34.1% were Not Afraid At All, 36.6% were Somewhat Afraid, 16.5% were Afraid, and just 8,8% were Very Afraid. The other 4% didn’t answer (Refused). What the Washington Post listed (25.3%) was the sum for Afraid and Very Afraid.

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