The Thing You Fear
I once heard a quote that said: “The thing you fear the most, is most likely what will bring you success”. For me, that thing was public speaking I was terrified at the thought of getting in front of a crowd to speak. I’d imagine having all those eyes balls on me judging and analyzing me, it was a scary thought. But after hearing that quote I knew I needed to overcome my fear.
At my office, we host weekly events where each agent has an opportunity to volunteer for a role. One of which is a speaking role to welcome our guest. This is typically done in front of a crowd of 100 to 200 people. I had been avoiding volunteering for that role and hadn’t planned on doing it for a long time. One day as we did the lineup something told me to raise my hand and volunteer. I knew it would be an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and ultimately get over my fear of public speaking. So I raised my hand and it was officially my role.
Leading up to the event I was extremely nervous but I was able to get it done and I did a pretty good job. Below are several steps that helped me prepare and now I’m able to speak in public more confidently with less anxiety and stress in front of large crowds.
1. Start with smaller groups
Find a small group of 30 to 40 people such as a Community Club, Church, Family event, and start volunteering for small speaking roles. This will give you the first bit of confidence you’ll need to grow.
Know exactly the material you’re going to go over, being prepared gives you confidence. Practicing is key. Those who don’t prepare tend to have those moments where their mind goes blank.
3. Don’t memorize
Don’t try to memorize verbatim, or word for word, the best practice is to remember key points so you can stay on track and your mind fills in the rest. Your presentation will come off as more natural and if you prepared you won’t need to memorize every word.
4. Avoid Bullet Style Presentations
Reading a presentation sometimes can seem like you’re not prepared and you lose connection with the audience. Maintaining eye contact with the audience is important. If you need to use a presentation use it to remember key points but you should always engage the audience with eye contact.
5. Reduce Stress
Before you speak eliminate anything that can cause you stress or worry. Just like athletes prepare before they play it is helpful to get in the zone and have a moment to clear your mind.
6. Find a Friend
Find a person that you feel comfortable with and maintain eye contact with them. this will help you feel like you’re having a one on one conversation instead of speaking to a crowd.
7. Engage the Audience
Talk to the audience, ask them questions, say a few jokes and get them involved. Having the audience involved helps you to feel less nervous. The energy from the crowd gives you the adrenaline to overcome any other issues you have.
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“Your Success is Important to me”-Tone