Confession: I never took speech class in high school and I HATED the thought of having to speak in public. Period. I’m the girl that was comfortable singing in front of thousands of people, but the thought of giving a speech in front of ten people gave me so much anxiety that I wanted to cry. My words would get jumbled, I would sweat like a pig, and I was scared to death. I know I’m not the only one who has had this fear because public speaking is ranked as the number one fear most people have! So, my friend, if you can relate to this fear at all, take a deep breath because you’re about to discover three tips to overcome the fear of public speaking!
1. Write a first draft of every word you want to say, and then…PRACTICE.
When I first started public speaking, I wrote down every single word that I was going to say and I didn’t go off script EVER. It was a bit silly, really. But what I discovered during that season was valuable information that set me up for success as a speaker later on. For instance, I now know that filling up eight pages of word-for-word notes fills about an hour of time. I also know that most speakers talk faster when they present for real than they do when they practice. And the last bit of information I discovered from doing this tip is that over time, it’s easier to scale down your notes into 3-5 bullet points when you have already written down all the possible words you have to say on the subject. It helps clarify things in your mind and it works.
2. Record yourself. Watch it. Take notes. Repeat.
This is a tip that I have learned from many top inspirational speakers. It works! And it is one of my biggest secrets to honing my craft. After nearly every speaking engagement, whether it is a small coaching video or a keynote to thousands, I take the time to watch or listen to myself. And then I take notes and figure out what I did well, what I could have done better, and what needs to change for next time. This simple task has also made me appreciate my speaking voice. I used to HATE the sound of my own voice when I listened to a recording! Now, it doesn’t even bother me anymore.
3. Work with a Coach to get training and grow your skill.
One of the best things I did to get over my fear of public speaking was to put myself in an environment to learn from other speakers. I have done this by listening to podcasts, reading books on better communication, and going to conferences such as She Speaks. When I went to She Speaks, I also signed up to be in a Speaker Critique Group where I had to present a five minute speech to the group and then I was able to get coached from a professional speaker. It was the best thing I’ve ever done! I continue to do this from time to time and I’m always grateful for the feedback and tips on how to keep growing.
My old fear of public speaking is funny to me now. Especially when I remember that as a kid, my best friend and I recorded ourselves and pretended we had a radio show! Sometimes the things we are born to do get tripped up because of one silly little fear. That doesn’t have to be the case anymore – for either of us! Are you ready to overcome your fear of public speaking? If so, take action today and tell me which tip you are going to apply this week! The world needs to hear the message that’s burning inside of you. You can do it! (And if you’re ready for major accountability, feedback, and ideas for speaking topics, I invite you to join us at the next Business Mastermind! It will be an easy way to put action step #3 into action right away.)