If you have anxiety around public speaking, you’re not alone. Statistics show that 77% of people have some level of significant discomfort when addressing a crowd. The only way to beat your fears and calm your anxiety is to face them. I want to share my time-tested strategies that will give you the ability to walk up and talk to a group of 20, 100, 1,000, or 500,000 people and not be intimidated.
The more prepared you are going in, the better outcome you will have. And the more you take the focus off of yourself and put it on your audience, the better the experience will be for everybody.
Here’s the rundown:
Like with anything else… It’s all about the Mindset.
Public speaking is easy if you go into it with the right frame of mind. If you go in and make it about you… to make yourself famous, or to highlight yourself and your achievements, you’re gonna lose, because then it’s really about your ego.
So how do you hang up your ego? Don’t make it about you. Make it about everybody else in the room. That takes the pressure off, and then you are ready to shift your focus and deliver an excellent experience to your audience with these 3 simple steps…
Step 1- Connect
It starts way before it’s time to present. Before you’re about to speak, walk around and introduce yourself to some people, and have a genuine conversation. Learn your audience and where they’re coming from. And then, when it’s time to speak, you’re just extending that connection. If you’re speaking at an event, make sure you thank the people who brought you there. Bring up the connections and relationships you value within the room, extending that warmth and energy through your presentation.
It’s never about you. It’s about bringing something to others. Connecting with them and making it about them takes that pressure off you and makes the people in the room invested in what you have to say.
Step 2- Content
You have to do maximum preparation here. Depending on how long you speak, you’re going to spend 4-5 HOURS in preparation for the one hour that you’re going to speak, depending on the level of content and value you want to provide. It could be more. But the more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll be, and the more you will be able to recognize what value you’re bringing for the crowd.
Your audience doesn’t want to hear about YOU. They want to hear the content that’s relevant to THEM and what’s going on in THEIR lives. Even if you’re telling a story about yourself, your objective is to make it about them and recognize what they are receiving from it beyond a story.
Are you presenting something that will lift them up, something they can learn, a new perspective, experiences that brought you value and knowledge? Whatever it is, put yourself in their shoes and recognize what the need is that they have that you can meet.
Step 3- Crowd
Keep engaging your audience throughout the presentation. If you are moderating something or delivering content, you are also interviewing the crowd. So you have to ask them questions.
Regardless of whether you are interviewing somebody or presenting something to the crowd- even if you’re speaking about yourself and your life and career- you’ve got to actively engage the crowd. Ask them questions and from their comments that will generate more questions, connections, and content that brings value and raises the positive energy in the room.
Focusing on making everybody comfortable, empowered, and connected takes the ego out and the pressure off. Go in prepared and think of it as another way of building community and relationships, and you’ll crush it.