The No. 1 Fear in Life!
The #1 fear in life is public speaking - even before death! We are more afraid of public speaking than dying - can you believe that? I believe it is all about perspective. We all know how to talk and most of us are passionate about something. For those of us in business, ideally we are living our purpose and really believe that we can make a difference.
Whether or not you are in the business of public speaking, there is always the need to speak in public. I have seen, time and time again, women entrepreneurs who freeze just at the thought of introducing themselves at a meeting - let alone get on stage and share their message with the world.
I think this is a tragedy because we all have a story and we all are capable of learning and becoming a better person. Most often it boils down to the simple fact that we don't have the skills. Once you've learned the fundamentals of public speaking, then it's just a matter of getting out there and doing it. Let's examine some of the major barriers - some of the things that hold us back; and then, let's identify some of the simple steps to take to becoming a better public speaker.
Barrier #1 - Core Beliefs
We tend to be our own worse enemy when it comes to the area of public speaking. Everyone has to start somewhere - so begin by changing your belief about what's possible for you in this regard. You change your beliefs by changing your self-talk!
Barrier #2: Your Self-Talk
The way you talk to yourself (let alone getting in front of an audience) is a huge barrier. "I'm not good enough. I'm not smart enough. Who would want to listen to me? I'll forget what I have to say." It is essential for you to change your self-talk to be positive, uplifting and forward thinking. No one is perfect. When you change your self-talk, you change your beliefs - "I am a powerful speaker with a transformational message. My story will change lives and it is essential that I get on stage to share it. I am happy with who I am as I strive to improve my public speaking skills."
Barrier #3: The Paralysis of Perfection
This is something that many women are guilty of - the paralysis of perfection. What I mean by that is we waste so much time wanting to perfect everything, that we don't take any action at all. Focus on this, instead: It's all about progress, not perfection! Good enough is good enough.
Getting Started: Step #1
Clarify your vision and purpose! What is your story and who needs to hear it? Once you've identified that, you're on your way. As one of my inspirational mentors, Dr. Robert Schuller, says "Beginning is half done!" Wherever you are right now is the perfect place to start.
Getting Started: Step #2
Once you've identified what you'd like to speak about, create a template - break it down into 3-5 bullet points (that's all people ever remember anyway!). Keep it simple. Link your story to action steps that will cause people not only to relate to you, but to take action in their own lives.
Getting Started: Step #3
Just be you and just get out there - get started - today! As I mentioned earlier, this is a whole business! No one starts at the top. Begin by identifying your ideal audience, create some written materials (your presentation, your bio, etc.) - then start contacting relevant organizations. Non-profit groups, for instance, are always looking for speakers for free - and that's a great way to get started! Get a few speaking engagements under your belt, fine tune along the way, and watch your confidence level soar. It's all about knowing your material, being in front of the right audience, and being your genuine self - and speaking with purpose. That's what touches hearts and changes lives.
"The result of hearing a good professional speaker is that people learn how to change and improve their lives, their work, and their relationships. Great speakers raise one's aspirations, hopes and ambitions."
- Brian Tracey
I am often asked WHY I speak at various events - this quote pretty much sums it up:
"The very best part of being a speaker is afterwards. People coming up - what they say and what they don't. Looking into their eyes and seeing that they used me as a mirror. Held me up as a mirror and looked inside themselves, and tuned in to some parts of themselves they had turned off for awhile - discovered some things they hadn't been in touch with. Perhaps they discover they no longer had any excuse to hide." - W. Mitchell
I have not, by any means, covered all the elements of public speaking in this short article!!!!! I will repeat that it is an essential skill in business, no matter what industry you are in - and it can be learned - so take to heart that which I referenced above and just get started.
1. Make a decision to get your message out there - create/strengthen the vision.
2. Make a list of all your fears when it comes to public speaking. Then, turn that list of fears into positive words - and write a few positive affirmations around them.
3. Do what you need to do to develop your skills - make a commitment today! The world awaits your message.
Put some of my practices in place and I guarantee you will get more exposure for your business and/or your life. When you develop new skills, you are developing the confidence and courage to move forward and invent the life, and the business, you truly want. You will be much more comfortable and successful in the overall scheme of things.