Many of my colleagues and co-workers hate public speaking. According to psychologists, public speaking is the number one fear of Americans… placing it above the fear of death.
Why do we fear public speaking?
Most people reading this have met their most basic needs, food, water, shelter, security, etc. So that means for most of us the base level need that we deal with everyday is belongingness. The need to be accepted and respected by our peers. This is where the nerves come from! When faced with leading a meeting or speaking to a large group we are afraid that because of our performance or lack of knowledge we will be cast out of our groups. It sounds dramatic, but that is how the primitive part of our brain interprets these situations. Ok, great. So how do I overcome this fear of being rejected?
How can we overcome this fear?
Below is a simple plan for public speaking success and if you follow it you will start your presentations well and the key to getting past our nerves is really just that. Getting PAST the part where we are nervous and into the part where we are already doing the dang thing! It is just like bungee jumping… the first step is scary and after that it is all down hill! So, if you prepare for your next presentation and begin it using this plan you will have nothing to fear.
The plan for presentation success:
- Know who you are speaking to – know their reason for listening, their current understanding level of your topic, and what they hope to leave with, in other words what your presentation can do for them. Maybe it’s to train a new skill, share insight, present a plan, generate support for a cause, create buzz, etc. But the key is to remember your goal for the presentation may not align naturally with the goal of your audience. Your job is to bridge that gap with your material.
- Know the 3 points you hope to share – you have to be able to articulate your 3 key takeaways in several different styles at several different times during your presentation. If you have more than three you need to trim your expectations down. If everyone walks away with the same 3 takeaways you have done an amazing job… but if each attendee walks away with a different set of 3 takeaways you may have caused a huge problem.
- Begin your speech with a statement of purpose – which follows this pattern: After the [call today] each of you will have a better understanding of [the topic], and you will [take these 3 actions]. This is the information your audience craves! They want to know why they are here and why they need to burn calories trying to understand your message. By telling them this up front you have already won them over.
Tips for Agile Teams Working Remotely
Once your speech or presentation gets going you will be in the moment and over the nerves. You can overcome this fear by following this simple plan. It will make you better at work and open doors for you career wise too! So start presenting with a purpose and enjoy your success!
I’d love to hear how you put this to work for you so please leave a comment below when you get a chance!