Public Speaking Skills – Managing the Fear of Speaking

Public speaking skills are important for you as a leader. Good public speakers can motivate, inspire and transform people in one session of speaking.

When you consider the fact that companies actually try to use big bonuses and pay increment to try to get their employees motivated, public speaking is actually a very useful skill to have.

You can save thousands and thousands of dollars on trying to motivate employees or your team with money (which by the way, is a lousy method to motivate) just by learning how to speak well to inspire and motivate people.

Jerry Seinfeld said, “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

Now that’s funny, but it could so true!

You probably have had your experiences with public speaking and you are just positively petrified by it! The thought of having to speak in front of people and having your every move, every word scrutinized by people just makes you shudder!

Considering the benefits of good public speaking skills, it is important for you to learn how you can manage the fear that comes with speaking in front of people.

First, understand what the fears are.

Common fears experienced by presenters

Some of the common fears experienced by presenters are fear of sounding foolish, fear that the content is not good enough, fear of being scrutinized and fear of the unknown.

But all these fears can be summed up in one main fear that is common to everyone: the feeling of inadequacy.

Basically it means that you feel that you’re not good enough and the thought of standing in front of everyone to speak makes you feel like you’re being stripped naked and every single part of you is being observed as you stand up there!

As you look at everyone in the audience, it makes you feel like every step you take, every word you say will be criticized by the people that are listening to you!

Those thoughts are scarey, aren’t they?

Guess what, you’re not alone. They’re common to people who have had experience speaking in front of audiences too!

But you’re different. You’re a leader and you have to learn how you to overcome these fears and not let them overwhelm you into a stutter.

Strategies for public speaking skills

Recognize that it’s normal for public speakers and presenters to be nervous
Know that it’s not just you who’s feeling it. I feel it too. And every other presenter feels a certain level of nervousness before he goes up to speak.

I remember a preacher that once shared with the church that even after 25 years of preaching, he still gets a little nervous going up on stage speaking to a congregation of thousands.

Focus on the task that hand
Adlai Stevenson said, “It’s hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.”

The reason why people continually get nervous on stage is because they are thinking about themselves, how they look on stage and how their words sound.

If you find that your thoughts are all about yourself, stop it! Your heart should be for your people. Focus on the message at hand.

What do you want your team to receive? What is the message you need to deliver? Focus on these things and you’ll find the words flowing out of you naturally.

I have been at the stage where I was very afraid to speak up because for most of the time I was just thinking about whether my message is good enough for my team, but you just have to let that go, think about what they need to hear, and say it.

Let it go. Stop thinking about yourself, start thinking about the people that you are leading and you’ll find public speaking to be natural.

Speaking from your heart
What is in your heart? What’s burning inside your heart that you wish to tell your team? This is one thing that no course on public speaking skills can teach you.

To be inspirational, you have to have an ideal vision of the future and guide your team toward it.

In a world of social norms, you need to be courageous to speak the future you want to create, and set your heart to achieving it.

I don’t personally have attended any course on public speaking skills, but I have managed to make inspiring speeches with only a vision in my heart.

People have given me feedback that I have really inspired them to want to continue serving their community.

Honestly, I was amazed at the effect my speech had, because I had just drafted it out of my head a few hours back.

But it was then that I realized that a powerful speech can only be made not with another person’s script, nor any techniques, but with your heart.

What is inside your heart? Share it.

These are just some methods you can use to manage your fear of speaking; look out for more articles on public speaking skills and strategies you can adopt to become a more influential, inspirational leader through speech.

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