Public speaking is one of the most important skills a business owner can master, yet nearly three quarters of people suffer from speaking anxiety. Whether you are speaking to just one person or in front of a crowd of thousands, this opportunity to share your message and connect with your prospects and clients is the key to growing your business quickly.
When it comes to public speaking, there is no better way to get your message out to a room full of decision makers all at one time. The real, person-to-person connection that happens when you speak to someone face to face is a powerful motivator. It gives people a chance to see that you have the knowledge and wisdom necessary, that you really walk your talk, that you have had great success with the product or service you provide and have a depth of passion for it. You give them the chance to envision themselves working with you. These are much higher quality leads than those that come in from other less-personal avenues, such as Facebook or Google ads. These other avenues are still wonderful, yet leads that come from public speaking events simply build deeper relationships faster.
I have used public speaking to share expertise of all of my past and present companies, from a full-service advertising agency, to beauty salons, to business coaching. Nothing positions you better as the expert than standing in front of your right-fit audience.
The telephone can be incredibly effective as well, but it could take months — even years — to schedule out that time with all the people in a given audience. When you speak to a crowd, you capture that personal connection all at once with a large group, saving you time, money and effort.
In the early years, I used to be terrified to speak. However, I implemented these processes to push past the fear. Now I love sharing my wisdom on stage and building powerful relationships with the members of the audience.
Let’s take a closer look at how to get past your nervousness so you can take on this key growth tool for yourself and your company.
1. Adrenaline is your friend.
The intensity of the energy you bring to your speech can work in your favor, allowing you to convey more passion and excitement to your audience. If you are too calm and collected, you risk a monotone, boring presentation that will put your audience to sleep! Harness your powerful adrenaline energy and visualize it as a way to add passion into your presentation.
2. The audience supports your success.
Remember that the people you are speaking to want you to do well. They’re rooting for your success. They are on your side.
3. Just do it.
At the risk of sounding too simplistic, at a certain point, you have to just commit and go for it. This is how you will move past your fear. When you fear something greatly, that is a sure sign that you need to walk through it. The results can be massive growth for you and your business. Doing anything, then doing it again and again, is the only way to learn it and become more comfortable with it.
When you’re growing your business, you do “scary” things all the time. You make important decisions and take huge risks. You challenge yourself and push your limits in order to find your highest levels of success. Public speaking is just another one of those challenges, and you can do it.
Once you’re committed to taking on public speaking, it’s time to take specific action steps to align yourself with opportunities to present to an audience:
- Direct connection with your target audience: Engage with your ideal customer on their turf through meet-up groups, clubs, associations and other local venues where your audience gathers. People are always looking for subject-matter experts to share their wisdom.
- Book first, create later: Lots of people get stuck thinking they need to write their speech first, then book a speaking gig. Do the opposite. There’s nothing like a deadline to get you motivated.
- One-sheet: Create a one-sheet describing your credentials and the topics you can speak about and get it in the hands of meeting planners and speaking coordinators at potential venues and events targeting your industry. It should also include a succinct bio and a few powerful testimonials.
- Persistence: Many groups and venues book way ahead of time, even as long as a year in advance. There may be boards that need to approve the speakers and a whole process that is undertaken before you are accepted. Don’t give up. Keep following up with decision makers. Persistence is what will get you through the door.
Don’t expect your first few talks to be amazing. Focus on successfully communicating the material in a friendly, energized way and just do your best. It will be okay and each time you do, it will feel easier and smoother than the last.