Are you one of those who consider public speaking as their #1 fear? As a business leader, you have to educate, persuade, inform, and share your vision with the team and other stakeholders, mobilize a positive attitude at the workplace to drive change, and boost the confidence of the team members to encourage them to perform their best. In addition, you have to carry out several other tasks that require effective communication and speaking skills. So, it is crucial for you to conquer the phobia of public speaking.
Each public speaking engagement is either an opportunity gained or an opportunity lost for business leaders. With a personalized and engaging talk, you can convince clients to believe in your idea and customers to buy your offering. Contrary to this, an unconvincing and pathetic presentation with poor delivery will shatter the trust of the potential customers in your ideas and products/services.
If you are a business leader looking forward to your first speaking engagement at an event or conference, the mere thought of standing on the podium and addressing a mass audience may make your blood run cold and heart pound fast. Well, you are not alone; many experienced speakers are in the same boat! In this blog post, we have provided a few tips that will help you get those nerves under control and get ready for the stage. Read on!
1. Shift Your Focus from Selling to Serving
Are you thinking of walking in your first speaking gig with an agenda to promote yourself or your product or service? If so, stop right now and take a deep breath! Your presentation may fall flat if you will follow the “Sell, Not Serve” approach. So, align your talk with the audience’s wants and needs, add a personal touch to your speech, and ensure a positive experience for your customers. Go the extra mile to make them feel welcomed and valuable with your words. To be more precise, focus on building and strengthening relationships with existing and potential customers, and the sale will follow.
2. Captivate the Audience Instead of Making them Feel Burdened
Instead of burdening the audience by talking about unrealistic facts, stories, and promises, engage them by highlighting the real problems they are facing and letting them know how your product/service can help them solve the issue.
In addition, don’t make your slides a dump yard of text, as it will only distract the audience and make them feel drowsy. Rather, emphasize the impressive visualization of information to keep the listeners hooked till the end of your speech. Power your words with professionally-designed PowerPoint templates embedded with high-definition visuals to enthrall the audience and bring your ideas to life.
3. Keep Your Talk Conversational
Audience engagement is a great technique for keeping them listening. You can convert passive listeners into active participants by encouraging them to ask questions and share their opinions and feedback. The more questions they ask and the more interest they show in your speech, the higher your chances of getting the sale.
Further, you can forge a strong emotional connection with the audience by making your message and content listener-sensitive and results-focused. Build a storyboard to present your thoughts/ideas and connect the dots. A story converts your content into relatable information, making it easy for the audience to consume it quickly.
4. Make a Big Difference through Your Body Language
Your movements, gestures, and facial expressions say a lot about what’s going on in your mind. So, ensure you look confident, relaxed, and comfortable while delivering your speech. You can reinforce enthusiasm and sincerity in your words and convey the same to your audience through the right body language.
Here are a few tips on how to use gestures to your advantage:
- Establish an immediate bond with the audience through eye contact. Through good eye contact, you can evaluate how people are responding to your message. Moreover, you can build trust and make the audience believe in your ideas with the right eye movements.
- A positive facial expression can do wonders in influencing the audience and getting your message across. Your face must not reveal the fear, stage fright, anxiety, or nervousness; instead, it must show up that you are happy and excited.
- Your head movements indicate a wide range of expressions. With the right head moves, you can engage the audience in an impressive way.
- You can complement your verbal message and make people remember your point with the correct hand gestures.
- Rigid back, crossed arms, and slouching shoulders give the audience a clue about your discomfort and insecurities; and they hesitate to trust you. Contrary to this, the right body posture creates positive vibes and makes you look energized.
- Avoid mumbling; speak clearly. Pay heed to the volume and pitch of your voice and take a pause wherever required.
5. Be Yourself, Be Authentic
Often, when we hear an influential speaker, we try to be like them. And in an attempt to fit in others’ roles and please all the audience members in the conference hall, we end up pleasing no one. The audience will quickly notice if your speech delivery is robotic or mechanical.
Remember, authenticity is one of the most important qualities of a speaker that drives credibility; however, it can’t be rehearsed. You can stand out only if you speak with a purpose and passion. Capitalize on your prowess, and don’t be afraid to show your true self to the people.
The speaking skill can’t be developed overnight; it takes a lot of practice to master it. While talking to your audience, focus your thoughts on all the amazing things that can happen, instead of pondering about what might go wrong. Learn to channelize your nervousness into excitement and combine your words with passion, persuasion, emotion, and relevant visual aids to ace your first speaking engagement.