Almost anyone can become a great public speaker. The only difference between Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Les Brown and you is that they know they’re great speakers and you don’t. Speakers need just two things: conviction about their message and courage. That’s it. We all have conviction. The problem is that most of us have to gain courage.
The fear of public speaking is the number one fear in the world. It’s even ahead of the fear of death! Jerry Seinfeld once joked, “If you have a choice of being in the casket or doing the eulogy, you’d choose being in the casket.” However, on the bright side, since public speaking is the biggest fear, you’ll stand out if say anything in front of a crowd. As a result, there’s less competition than you think.
But how do we overcome this fear? Public speaking is when someone hears you open your mouth. Your audience can be one person or a large crowd. With COVID, most activity is limited to Zoom and other digital platforms. Therefore, now is the perfect time to grow your public speaking skills. Here are five steps you can use to overcome the fear of public speaking:
Record yourself speaking.
This is a great tool to learn about how you speak. Recording myself helped me to learn that I say “um,” “OK,” and “right” a lot. These words are a product of fear. Now, I am conscious of this when I speak. Recording yourself helps to eliminate the initial fear of speaking. Practice before you take the plunge.
With the advent of cell phones with video capabilities, you can easily see how you look and sound. As you practice you can see your body language, your posture, your cadence, etc. These are important to know whether you’re interviewing with a prospective employer or speaking on Zoom or presenting to a crowd. Videos can be a source of content for your website.
These are a great way to get your message across to many people at once. With teleseminars you can use a bridge line and communicate with many people at a time. With webinars you can speak and use slides without being on screen.
Join a speakers group.
Speakers groups are great places to hone your speaking skills. You’ll be around like-minded people who are ready to support you in your growth. You can get great practice and make great contacts.
Regularly speak in small groups.
I learned how to speak at my local church in small Bible discussion groups. Speaking at a church, if you attend, is a great place to get encouragement when you speak. You will also receive constructive criticism to improve your speaking. You can speak at your local library or an organization you belong to, post-COVID, of course.
Public speaking is one of the best ways to establish credibility. It establishes you as an expert and builds trust. These five tips can help you to grow in your speaking without a crowd. You can work on your craft as you build the courage to speak in front of a crowd when the pandemic ends.