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Brene Brown an authentic speaker

With 32 Million Views Of Her TED Talk, We MUST Learn From Brene Brown About Becoming A Confident Presenter

Brene Brown is an Internet phenomenon. Her speeches have been viewed tens of millions of times on YouTube, TED and elsewhere online. But just what is it about Brene Brown that makes her talks so compelling? I want to share with you what can be learnt from her presenting style that will help you also become a confident presenter and perhaps transform how you approach your next presentation. Here we break down the key things to take away from Brene Brown’s confidence, to help you become a better speaker, presenter and communicator.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

How You Can Learn from Brene Brown's Confidence

 

Firstly, who is Brene Brown?

Brene Brown is a researcher of shame, vulnerability, courage and empathy.

Like, there’s not many of those people around, right?!

Her TED talk—The Power of Vulnerabilityis one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world with over 30 million views.

She is also the author of three #1 New York Times bestsellers.

But the real reason I’ve put this blog together is because Brown is a stunningly powerful presenter. Brene Brown’s confidence on stage is a sight to behold. Here we analyse why.

Brene Brown’s Confidence is Based on Wholehearted Living and Wholehearted Presenting

One important thing to know about Brown’s teachings is that she speaks about wholehearted living.

This roughly translates to:

By accepting vulnerability in our lives we can live more meaningful, more connected, successful lives.

Her research is based on following 10 guideposts which she urges us to practice daily.

But does she practice these guideposts when she speaks to her audiences?

In short, is Brene Brown a wholehearted presenter?  

The answer is “Hell Yes!”

And you can learn so much from her if you want to connect in an authentic way with your audience.

Let’s discuss a number of her 10 guideposts in the context of her presentation approach, so that you too can bring Brene Brown’s confidence into your own presentations.

Guidepost 1: Cultivating Authenticity– Letting go of what people think

‘‘To be willing to let go of who you think you should be,  to be able to connect” Brene Brown

Brown communicates with her audience as if she’s having a chat over coffee.

She talks in an authentic, conversational easy way.  She has the courage to be herself (in true Texan fashion), to “show up authentically”, no pretense, no facade.

To adopt Brene Brown’s confidence and become a more powerful, impactful, confident presenter, we need to let go of what others might think of us—our colleagues or managers.

You need to have the courage to show up for your presentation as your true self, not trying to be something you are not—this honesty connects powerfully with any audience.

Guideposts 2 & 3: Cultivating Self-Compassion– Letting go of perfectionism, and Cultivating A Resilient Spirit– Letting go of numbing and powerlessness

Brown’s TEDx talk—“The Power of Vulnerability”—was originally going to be named something like “Variables Mitigating Self Actualising”.

Which begs the question: why the change?

Well, how often do we intellectualise our language? Speaking in conceptual language stifles audiences.

Why do we do it?

In truth, we do it to protect ourselves, to appear like we are worthy and perfect. We put “armour” on—complex language, or a data dump on a PowerPoint slide—to protect ourselves from being vulnerable.

We strip the humanness from our presentations, and this results in numbing and stifling both presenter and audience.  

By allowing self-compassion (as Brene does in her talks) we allow ourselves the permission to be imperfect in our presenting.  This allows us to show vulnerability, to show emotion when we speak, whether that’s fear, anger or asking for help if we need it. 

By allowing this self-compassion, a presenter becomes more resilient as a result.  And ultimately creates a more honest, authentic, stronger relationship with the audience.   

Guideposts 4 & 5:  Cultivating Gratitude and Joy—Letting go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark, and Cultivating Meaningful Work—Letting go of Self-Doubt

Brown refers to scarcity as a mindset of “never enough, never perfect enough, never relevant enough…” 

Many presenters live in constant scarcity, or what some people might recognise as “imposter syndrome”.

Brown admits to working daily to overcome her scarcity self-talk and to conquer her “imposter syndrome”.

Moving from “I am not worthy” to I am worthy and enough. In the context of becoming a confident presenter, we need to let go of our scarcity self-talk.  This is a huge factor to overcoming fear/lack of confidence when presenting.

Guidepost 6: Cultivating Creativity – “Stories are just data with a soul”

One of the most striking things about Brown is the skill with which she weaves years of research with her personal, vulnerable, honest stories—both funny and painful.  

 I just love the quote: “Stories are just data with a soul.”

The vulnerability in her stories, metaphors and analogies resonate very strongly with her audience.  

Stories help audiences to remember important points and they also build that important empathy with listeners.

In order to connect with audiences, there needs to be a balance of Evidence-Based-Content (Head content) mixed with emotive content (Heart content). Brown achieves this balance perfectly.  This results in a fully engaged audience when presenting.

Throwing data coldly at audiences will numb them, and yet we see this all the time.

So I strongly encourage you on your journey be becoming a confident presenter that you close your laptop, get pen and paper out or go for a walk.

Get creative, brave, and playful with your presentation content. This is powerful and I would say mandatory to fully engage your audiences.

Guidepost 8:  Cultivating Calm and Stillness

This one is, I believe, absolutely essential to becoming a confident presenter.

Listen to Brene Brown speak (I’ve included the videos at the bottom).

There is no rush, no anxiety, no sense of urgency. She pauses, to think and reflect.

Now this is confident presenting.

She’s not distracted with whatever content is coming next. She’s not worried about “getting through” her content. She remains present with what she is speaking about.

Of course she has researched and prepared her talk.

But she is also a big believer in the power of meditation and the importance of breathing, and we experience this as she speaks.  Working to understand the role breath plays is vital to help connect with both our content and our audience.

Guidepost 10: Cultivating Laughter, Play, Intuition, Trust – Letting go Being Cool and “Always in Control”

Brown has fun in her presentations, and as a result the audience has fun.

She laughs at her stories, she laughs at herself!

Whilst her content is grounded in strong evidence, she allows herself not to take herself too seriously.

She doesn’t rely heavily on a script or slides, and she reacts to her audience’s reactions throughout.  She “lets go of total control and certainty” – not totally but just enough!

Conclusion: How to Gain Confidence from Wholehearted Presenting

Implementing all of this in your own talks, speeches and presentations is easier said than done, of course, but as we’ve seen from Brown, weaving personal stories through your talks certainly makes it easier.  

To reach the level of confidence embodied by Brene Brown requires preparation, practice and BRAVERY, but when achieved it will totally captivate an audience.

All 10 of Brene Brown’s guideposts encourage us to show vulnerability in some way.

As a presenter in a corporate context, this requires immense bravery.  This bravery will ultimately give you a deep sense of connection with both your message and with your audience.

I strongly encourage you to explore wholehearted presenting if you want to become a confident presenter.

It really does work.

Watch Brene Brown’s confidence at first hand in her two most lauded TED talks below – “The Power of Vulnerability”, and “Listening to Shame”

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

presenting over the phone

Voice Coaching – A Necessity In Call Centres Based On This Eye Opening Research….

telephone interview

 

A study, commissioned by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has shared startling findings regarding call centres and vocal problems:

Findings at a glance

 

  • 1 in 10 diagnosed with a voice problem
  • 1/10 suffering because of the stress placed on  vocal cords
  • 60% having difficulty being heard against background noise
  • 41%failed to be heard by the customer
  • 1 in 3 call agents said that their voice was hoarse often
  • New starters more likely to develop voice problems

 

 

Dr Luise Vassie, executive director of policy said ” the results [] are eye opening: 

 

[“People who depend on their voices such as actors and singers, often have training, call agents should be no different.  Call centre managers and employees would be wise to heed the advice of this research]

 

As part of the research, interviews with [managers indicated that call agents receive regular job training – but fail to cover voice care and effectiveness]

 

 

Dr Hazlett added: 

 

“By educating staff on voice care issues, they become more aware of the risks they face and how they can be prevented – this can:

 

  •  lead to reduced absence levels
  • a more efficient way of working
  • and, in the long run, business profitability”

 

So there you go, eye opening research – seems like there is a requirement for voice coaching in the call centre world!

Full article/research http://ccma.ie/news/583/lack-of-voice-training-sees-one-in-four-call-centre-workers-suffer.html

difficult audience

How to Prevent Vocal Problems: Five Things to Save Your Voice From Damage

Coaches, trainers and teachers everywhere are most at risk from vocal problems and voice damage—which can even be serious enough to threaten their livelihood. So what can you do to take long-term care of your voice? Here are a few tips.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

prevent vocal damage and voice problemsSo I’m in the park for an evening walk and I’m amazed at all the fitness bootcamps in full swing.

(I’m also feeling a certain degree of guilt, but that’s another story for another day…)

What strikes me is all the shouting those fitness gurus are doing, and I spare a thought for their strained, worn out vocal folds!

Fitness coaches of all kinds, from athletics to football to swimming to personal training, and of course teachers are amongst the highest professions that suffer from vocal loss.

They often need time off, or indeed have to leave their chosen profession entirely, as a result of vocal problems.

So, if you are using your voice loudly outdoors, you need to learn how do it correctly.

Here’s a quick check list…

1. Posture is Important

You need to understand about posture – Neutral, centred posture – particularly the “head neck relationship”. Check out the Alexander Technique for more.

2. Release Any Tension

You need to rid the body of unnecessary tension  – Particularly in the shoulder, neck, jaw and abdominal  areas.  Unnecessary tension effects breathing, which immediately effects your voice.

3. Breathing Helps Support Your Voice

You need to learn how to breathe correctly to support your voice – Taking the focus away from upper chest breathing and instead focusing the breath deeper in the body is vital for s strong, clear (unforced) voice. You will need to practice breathing exercises to build up muscle memory.

4. Warming Up is Not Just for Your Arms or Leg Muscles

You need to spend time warming up the vocal muscles – They are like any other muscle in the body and require a warm up to function at their best. I have plenty of exercises to share

5. Learn to Support Your Voice to Prevent Vocal Problems

You need to learn to support your voice – Otherwise known as ‘projecting your voice safely’ this requires practical exercises which I will post shortly.

Now because cause I’m helping out with my own vocal fitness regime, I no longer have to feel guilty about not being part of the fitness bootcamp gang, right?

Ah, okay then… has anyone seen my jogging pants?

Olivia

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives.

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Main picture credit: Gem & Lauris RK on Unsplash

Public Speaking Skills: How to Connect with Any Audience

Public Speaking Skills: The Art of Connecting with Any Audience (From Start to Finish)

When you’re thinking about the public speaking skills you need to succeed, it pays to think first and foremost about your audience. Here are seven things every audience needs to keep them hanging on your every word.

By Olivia MacDonnell, Confident Speak

Public Speaking Skills: How to Connect with Any AudienceWhen speakers are building their public speaking skills and making all the necessary preparations and arrangements for their talk, there is one thing that often happens—they might spend hours of prep on a single slide, but neglect to really prepare to serve their audience!

So if there’s one vital piece of advice to give for you in any environment where you’re talking in front of an audience—from sales presentations to staff meetings to a keynote address to a packed auditorium—make sure to take note of the following seven tips to better serve your audience.

Start thinking about your poor audience – they are busy too! and they’ve given up their time to listen to you!  This is what they need:

Honing Public Speaking Skills through Audience Connection, 1: A Reason to Listen

An audience will not listen to you unless they know why they should – it’s as simple as that!

So, you need to make it very clear from the start why your presentation is important to them.

What’s the benefit?

What are the consequences?

They need to know WIIFM—the “what’s in it for me?” question.

Fail to take note, and you might not have an audience at all.

Honing Public Speaking Skills through Audience Connection, 2: Life Made Really Easy for Them

When you’re doing your talk prep, make sure to structure you message simply and clearly.

If you’re inexperienced find out about basic structuring for a presentation.

I always this it’s useful to think of “the audience” as friends.

And the truth is, subconsciously no audience wants to work hard. They don’t want to wade through complex slides trying to figure out what exactly they need to do. Structure things as simply and clearly as you can to make life really easy for any audience.

Honing Public Speaking Skills through Audience Connection, 3: Simple and User-Friendly Language

Stop using jargon and complex language—immediately!

There’s a misconception about complex language. Some people think it makes them sound more intelligent.

But the truth is it doesn’t. Jargon and complexity is much more likely to bore, alienate and frustrate your listener.

So avoid that at all costs and use a conversational style with matching language.

Believe me—it’s no less professional. In fact, it’s much more professional!

Honing Public Speaking Skills through Audience Connection, 4: A Relevant Message

I suggest every point you make ask yourself this question.

Why would this be remotely relevant to the listener?

If you think it is or should be relevant to them, then ask yourself a second question:

How am I making this relevant and understandable to them?

Every point you make needs to be in “audience context”.

Honing Public Speaking Skills through Audience Connection, 5: A Memorable Message

If they feel they are being talked to, as opposed to talked at, they are more likely to remember your message.

Using “I”, “we” and “our” involves the audience as if they are on the journey also, and if we are involved, suddenly things become much more memorable.

Using personal experiences, personal stories and memorable examples is a good start

There are plenty more approaches, but do avoid making stuff up.

It can be very obvious and can sound false to the audience.

Honing Public Speaking Skills through Audience Connection, 6: To Feel That You Really Believe Your Message

If your voice lacks energy and emotion, your audience will tune out.

So ask yourself, what emotion do you want your audience to feel?

Interest? Excitement? Curiosity?

Whatever it is, you then need to convey this emotion in your voice.

It sounds like an obvious presentation skill, but just thinking about what you are saying and how you would like the audience to feel it very powerful.

So many presenters just present like they are “going through the motions”.

An audience needs and expects more.

Honing Public Speaking Skills through Audience Connection, 7: You Staying Connected From Start to Finish

There is no point having a great, memorable first 45 seconds and then revert to a complex, irrelevant message for the remainder of your presentation.

A great colleague of mine uses the analogy of a “travelator” (those flat moving stairs you see in airports) when giving a presentation.

The audience needs to step on the “travelator” at the beginning with you and move with you through your presentation and gets off the end with you.

They need to walk away from your presentation knowing what they should do, think and feel as a result of listening to your entire presentation.

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

(Main picture by Krists Luhaers on Unsplash)

 

pitch range voice musical instrument

Why Pitch Range is Vital to Public Speaking and Presentation Success

When it comes to public speaking and presenting, you need to think about your “pitch range”—the range of notes you give to your voice to keep your audience engaged, interested and motivated. Here’s a brief pitch range overview.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

pitch range voice musical instrumentImagine this.

You’ve just arrived at a musical concert.   You wait to be entertained by the musician.

The pianist arrives on stage and starts to play.

But he starts playing by using only two notes – C D!

You wonder what’s going on, you’re definitely disappointed and then, as the performance continues in the same vein, you become completely frustrated and you tune out entirely.

Now switch the focus from music to speaking.

The same principle applies.

If you want to engage an audience when you speak, you need to think of your voice as an instrument and you need to use your range of notes (pitch range) to connect with your audience.

If you don’t, you will simply bore the pants off our listener!

Using pitch range is necessary to get the audience to sit up and listen.

So firstly, how do we hear the pitch range (notes) in our voice?

Simply, start at your lowest note and just like a scale of a piano, hum gently and slowly up your vocal scale – the notes should be getting higher and higher! give it a go.   This is easier to explain by doing than writing!

How do you use your pitch range – how do you make your voice an instrument?

I always think it’s useful to firstly think about the meaning of your message.  What do you want the audience to think about and feel?

Once you decide on this, the emotion in your voice (be it interest, positivity etc.) will follow.

Pitch variety will follow once you are really thinking about, and connected to your message.

Two ways to vary pitch

  1. Going from low pitch to high pitch when stating contrasts.
  2. Build up your pitch in steps to build momentum.

Things to remember about sustained pitch

A sustained period of high pitch:

  1. Can put people on edge
  2. Can motivate your audience
  3. Can indicate sarcasm
  4. Can indicate light heartedness

A sustained period of lower pitch:

  1. Can be soothing
  2. Can indicate seriousness
  3. Can be boring!

What are you aiming for? Be sure to know what’s possible when you decide on your pitch and pitch variation for your talk.

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives.

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

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Elocution Lessons for Adults

Are Elocution Lessons for Adults Back In Vogue? Yes, They Are!

There has been a rise in elocution lessons for adults, according to recent studies

According to a new study by thetutorpages.com website there seems to be a soaring demand for elocution lessons for adults.

The report shows that elocution teachers have received more enquiries than teachers of any other subject in recent years.

Let me share with you the findings—it makes interesting reading.

Reasons given for the rise in interest in elocution lessons for adults

Some quotes from people seeking training

I have a strong accent and often the first impression people have of me when they hear me talk is that I’m thick. I want to improve my elocution and tone down my accent as I think it may hold me back in my career.

 

I am beginning to get tired of the reaction I get when I open my mouth and although proud of my roots I am wondering if I should have some elocution lessons in order that I am taken more seriously.

 

[I’m] looking for promotion but feel that my language skills are holding me back. I am from South East Asia and speak Mandarin and English. I’d like to improve on the clarity and tone of my speech, soften my accent…

What type of people are interested in elocution lessons for adults?

A high proportion of the requests come from professionals looking for a way to improve their career prospects, including

Thoughts from speech and elocution tutors about the surge in interest

There are a lot of pressures on people to try and improve all aspects of themselves….everyone is fighting for jobs and positions and employers have the upper hand in that they can pick and choose.

 

A lot of people I work with want to develop skills in presentation and communication as well as speech and articulation. It’s about how they put themselves across and whether they can make a clear point.

 

One factor behind the rise in requests for elocution coaching was The King’s Speech, the film starring Colin Firth as King George VI, who sought assistance from a speech therapist to help him overcome his fear of public speaking.

So are we seeing a return to the days of Professor Higgins and Eliza Doolittle?

Where ambitious people were denied opportunities because they spoke?

In this competitive job seeking world, it could very well be the case.

Food for thought, indeed…

presentation skills advice

Fearful Public Speakers..Try Our 7 “STOP” Public Speaking Tips…

Sam Xu
presentation skills advice

 

“Stop panicking, take your head out of the sand and Start Doing” –

7 public speaking tips that all begin with the word STOP!

 

1. Stop – Do not open Powerpoint!! 

Ditch the Powerpoint and get pen and paper out instead. Making Powerpoint your first port-of-call keeps you from thinking about what you actually want to achieve in your presentation.

2. Stop – Thinking about yourself!

Sure you’re nervous but it’s not about you! Focus instead on your audience & on helping them to engage, listen and understand

3. Stop – Waffling

Instead of chucking lots of information at your audience in the vague hope that something will stick, focus on the following:

  • How will I get the attention of my audience
  • How will I keep it
  • How will I ensure they remember what I need them to remember 

4. Stop – Rehearsing silently in your head

What can sound very well in your head may not sound well spoken aloud.  To reduce your nerves when public speaking you have to hear yourself aloud numerous times and ideally standing up.  This will ensure a confident delivery.  

5. Stop – Panicking about Q&A 

Based on the subject of your presentation try to anticipate the kind of questions you might get, write them down and prepare some answers in advance.

6. Stop – Leaving it to chance and ‘Stage Manage Your Own Success’ 

Take ownership for your public speaking opportunity by anticipating what could possibly go wrong using this initial checklist:

  • What is the layout of the room
  • Have I all the required materials.
  • Have I checked and double checked the technology – compatibility, backup, etc.

7. Stop – Panicking

 

If you follow the 6 public speaking tips above – the more ownership you will take, the more control you will have and the less nerves you will have.

“It’s time to start enjoying your public speaking opportunity and start connecting and engaging a happy audience”

 

 

engaged audience

Seven Public Speaking Tips to Make Any Audience Sit Up and Listen

Interested in public speaking for pleasure or business? Here are seven public speaking tips and techniques you should learn to help you win over any audience.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Public speaking tips

Perhaps Maya Angelou, the great author, said it best:

Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.

If you think you’re in need of some public speaking tips, I think this is the key thing to remember about any engagement.

Have you ever felt that your audience looked a little disengaged or passive when you’re giving a presentation?

Or are you afraid of that coming to pass?

Here are seven quick but highly effective public speaking tips and techniques that have been proven to work time and time again.

Public Speaking Tips, 1. The Three-Point List

By structuring a message into a three-point list, you both strengthen and amplify a message. A three-point list (also known as “the rule of three”) gives the audience time to recognize and react appropriately.

An audience can easily remember lists of three.

For example, everyone remembers “a Mars a day helps you work, rest and play”, right?

Barack Obama and Steve Jobs are examples of excellent speakers who regularly used the three-point list device.

Public Speaking Tips, 2. Use metaphor, analogy and story

Using these throughout a presentation will evoke people’s imagination.

For example, in one of David Cameron’s speeches as Conservative Party leader before he became British Prime Minister, he said:

Yes, there is a steep climb ahead … but the view from the summit will be worth it.

By embedding honest personal stories (but don’t make them up, it sounds fake) into the presentation, you will bring a human touch which people connect with immediately.

Public Speaking Tips, 3. Use of contrast

Using contrast in your presentation provides a puzzle, arouses curiosity and opens the way for a punch line.

Public Speaking Tips, 4. Ask Rhetorical Questions

Using rhetorical questions will stimulate thinking, it will evoke curiosity.

It also qualifies the point you wish to make.

Public Speaking Tips, 5. Get Personal

Use a conversational style – an audience connects much better when they feel they are being talked to as opposed to talked at.

Use of the words “I”, “we” and “our” involves the audience as if they are on the journey also.

Public Speaking Tips, 6. Connect and Commit to Every Word

It sounds like an obvious presentation skill, but just thinking about what you are saying and how you would like the audience to feel is very powerful.

Many presenters present like they are “going through the motions”.

If you give each word appropriate time and weight your audience will feel like you have really thought about your message. Don’t rush, there is no urgency. This will always draw the audience in.

Public Speaking Tips, 7. Let Physical Presence Add to Your Vocal Power

Thinking about how you look and sound is a presentation skill that is often underestimated.

Standing composed and grounded adds weight to any presenter and gives the audience confidence in the speaker. Emphasis and energy well used at the appropriate times will carry an audience along with you.

So, go on give these techniques a go and see what happens in your next presentation.

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

(Main picture credit: Kane Reinholdtsen on Unsplash)

fear of public speaking

Fear of Public Speaking? Follow These Steve Steps to Overcome It

Are you afraid of public speaking? Rest assured that you are not alone. Fear of public speaking is more common than you may think.  So common, in fact, that it has even been officially recognised as a phobia: glossophobia affects as many as 75% of us. Here we outline seven steps you can take towards reducing your fear of public speaking and wowing any audience.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

fear of public speaking

Steps to overcoming your fear of public speaking, 1: Stop panicking, start planning

The number one way to overcome a fear of public speaking—indeed, a fear of anything—is to consciously remove emotions from the equation and analyse the fear rationally.

It’s all in the planning! So take pen and paper in hand, and ask yourself these two quick questions:

  1. Why are you speaking in public?
  2. What do you want to achieve by the end of your talk?

Answering these two questions (don’t spare on the detail!) will set you on the road to overcoming your public speaking anxiety.

Once you do that, you can move on to spending the time required to understanding your audience and their needs and view of the world, and preparing your content for that audience.

This preparation will help you both to craft a message that engages your audience, and to achieve what you want from the presentation.

Once you’ve planned thoroughly, and are comfortable with your material, rehearse—aloud!—as often as you can.

Step 2: Public speaking is about your audience, not you!

In my experience, through well over a decade of working with some of the most successful business men and women in Ireland and abroad to help them hone their speaking communications, I have learned one thing about the fear of public speaking.

Most people who suffer from this public speaking anxiety make one key mistake: their primary focus is on themselves and their fear of public speaking.

You must remember, however, that you are presenting to them.

It is their presentation. Without your audience, there is no presentation!

If you move the focus away from yourself and on to the audience, this will take the pressure off you.

How? Move on to step 3!

Step 3: So focus instead on your audience

Ask yourself:

  1. Who is my audience
  2. Why are they there?
  3. What is relevant to them?
  4. What questions are going through their minds?

Pondering these questions will help you quiet your own nerves about public speaking and tailor your content, message and delivery for the people who matter.

Step 4: Talk to your audience (not at them!)

Think of your audience as your friends.

Use simple jargon free language in a conversational style.

It may even help to think of your audience as a single, friendly person, and speak directly to them.

This will help you calm your fear of public speaking when you get up on stage.

Step 5: You’ve gotta keep breathing

Take the time to breathe deep inside your ribcage as opposed to high in the chest.

Breathing for public speaking takes practice but it works.

Working on your breath helps to reduce nerves and gain control.

Step 6: The public does not see your fear

You need to think about this as soon as you walk into that room.

Be aware of how you walk, how you stand and how you “own the space”.

Slow everything down.

Think tall, stand tall, walk tall.

Step 7: Think about what your voice is saying about you

Speak slowly and clearly and make every word count.

If your voice lacks energy and emotion—your audience will tune out.

Ask yourself—what emotion do you want your audience to feel.

Interest? Excitement? Curiosity?

You then need to convey this emotion in your voice.

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

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