The average person in the United States ranks the fear of public speaking higher than the fear of financial ruin, sickness, and even death. Speaking in public may elicit in you familiar feeling of dread: sweaty palms, ringing in your ears, the tornado of butterflies in your stomach, and the flood of anxious thoughts swirling around in your head. But, these feeling don’t have to be so overpowering that they hinder your performance.
What you may not know is that even the best public speakers—celebrities, star athletes, and top thought leaders, who speak over 100 times per year—experience pre-performance jitters. In fact, many speakers feel that slight performance nerves are a sign of respect for the audience and their speech.
Honing your public speaking skills can be immensely valuable to your career in the business world. As any business executive knows, public speaking doesn’t just take place on the stage. From giving a presentation about a new product to making a sales pitch, or speaking-up during a company meeting, more and more effective speaking in business is a valuable skill that will set you apart from the pack.
Although, as this skill becomes ever valuable–and almost required at executive levels–many of us still possess little background or experience in public speaking. Fortunately, the ability to be an effective speaker is based on communication skills that can be learned. A speaking coach can equip you with the skills to deliver a presentation clearly, concisely, and with confidence. Here are a few resources:
The Speaker Adventure is a month-long mentoring process that takes you from story-creation to the art of presenting passionately and professionally from the stage. It also includes a sales and marketing component called “Five Steps to a Six Figure Speaking Business.” Participants are typically professional speakers, business professionals, and authors, who want to sharpen their public speaking skills and their effectiveness.
Decker Communications hosts workshops that simplify and clarify business communications from the message and the messenger. The Decker Method is a system that trains business professionals to understand how they come across in all communication situations and enhances the impact of their communications through teaching participants valuable skills such as connecting with the listener and using style to highlight the substance of the discussion.
Own the Room helps individuals and teams become world-class speakers, presenters, and communicators. From improving executive presence to making meetings shorter and more efficient, we’ve worked in 27 countries with executives, celebrities, athletes and professionals from the world’s leading companies.
Strategic Samurai speaker coaching helps individuals take an idea and transform it into a full presentation. Strategic Samurai works with its clients every step of the way, from the content of the talk and to the performance. The tools and techniques taught also translate to areas beyond keynote speaking to communication, business, planning, goal setting and more.
Public speaking in business is not just about being able to give an eloquent speech. It’s about being able “to communicate in life, and that’s enormously important,” says Warren Buffett. “If you can’t communicate and talk to other people to get across your ideas you’re giving up your potential.”
Whether you are a new startup or an entrepreneur who’s been around for many years you can always improve and refresh your public speaking skills. Here are some speaking tips from the experts:
- Plant your feet and tell the truth
Jeff Salz of Speaker Adventure says, “This old adage turns out to be an understatement. Some recent studies indicate that upwards of 90% of our communication is actually non-verbal. What to do? When you are authentic in your message, your entire body is in a state called ‘coherence’. You move organically and naturally. It never fails, and your audience is moved, too!”
- Start with an attention grabber
Bill Hoogterp and Lidia Arshavsky from Own the Room suggest that you, “Start your next meeting or virtual call with a question, a story, a stat, a problem, or a quote. Each time pick a different one and keep rotating through them and people will start to subconsciously pay more attention to you.
- Relax, take a breath, go for a walk
BigSpeak EVP Ken Sterling assures that stage fright is common, and more importantly, quite conquerable. He says, “Good, old-fashioned exercise is the best method to keep your head clear and your frights offstage—go for a run, meditate, or do some yoga. Find out what works for you, practice regularly, and, when it’s your turn to address the audience, approach the microphone with confidence.”
- Make it personal–Tell your story
Mark Lovett—who collaborates and coaches at Speaker Adventures and is also the chief organizer at TEDxSanDiego— says, that sharing a story is always a good idea and he encourages that you “do in present tense.” Anecdotal and personal stories are a great way of introducing yourself to the audience and capturing their attention. They also help to put you at ease by speaking on a topic you are so familiar with. Storytelling –and story-learning–are in our DNA. Enjoy yourself and your audience will enjoy the presentation themselves too.
The content writers at BigSpeak Speakers Bureau are Experts on the Experts. They hold doctoral, masters, and bachelors’ degrees in business, writing, literature, and education. Their business thought pieces are published regularly in leading business publications. Working in close association with the top business, entrepreneur, and motivational speakers, BigSpeak content writers are at the forefront of industry trends and research.