Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Three Simple Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Speaking and Presenting

Fear of speaking and presenting are very common but they can impact your career and also create avoidable stress. I know because I can remember a time when I was terrified of public speaking and really hoped I would be struck by lightning before it was my turn. Now I look forward to it and actively look for opportunities to speak (in fact if you need a speaker get in touch). You can do the same just by following three simple tips:

1. PREPARE. You need to prepare your speech or presentation very carefully so that it is well structured, engaging and relevant. Structuring the content makes it easier to present and easier to follow, so divide it into clearly defined sections, each with a purpose. Make sure the content is also engaging by avoiding unnecessary detail and by using stories rather than facts. People always remember stories better than anything else. And make sure that the content is relevant to the audience. Take time to find out who they are and what they want -- ask the organizers if needed. Good relevant content will please the audience and make the speaker feel more confident.

2. PRACTICE. Once you have prepared good content you need to run through it a few times to make sure it flows smoothly. If you don't have much time run through the whole thing once and if there really isn't time for that practice at least the introduction and the conclusion. If at all possible try your speech or presentation on a test audience first, even if it is just one person. For important presentations a full dry run is highly recommended. When you know your content well you will feel much more relaxed.

3. MEET THE AUDIENCE. Take advantage of any opportunity to meet your audience before you speak. If you can chat with a few people before the session, or even just greet them as they come into the room, you will feel much more at ease. There will also be some familiar faces in the audience you can look toward for reassurance. Having met the speaker beforehand also means that these people are focussed more on what you say and not wondering who you are.

Finally, speaking is like many other things: if you do it often you will become more skilled, more confident and less apprehensive. You become a confident speaker by accepting invitations to speak and actively looking for opportunities. After just a few well prepared and practiced speeches you will learn to enjoy it and look forward to your next chance to speak.


Workshops on Speaking & Influencing
This note is based on content from the lecture/workshops/coaching on speaking and influencing Visit http://andrewhennigan.com/workshops.htm or contact Andrew Hennigan at conseil@andrewhennigan.com or call 0033 6 79 61 42 81 for more details. 


Related Posts on Speaking and Influencing
Selling Your Ideas Influencing Your Way To Success
Three Simple Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Speaking
Writing and Speaking Lessons from a Primatologist
Nine and a Half Tips for Presenting to C.Suite Executives
Seven and a Half Things to do When Someone Asks You to Present Their Slides


For information about lectures, workshops and personal coaching on this topic visit andrewhennigan.com, email me at conseil@andrewhennigan.com or call on 0033 6 79 61 42 81