Public speaking. For some of you, you love it. For others of you, your hands have already started to sweat and your mouth is dry just reading those two words. No matter how you feel about public speaking, I think we can all agree that a great leader doesn’t always equal a great public speaker. Am I right?
Think about players on a sports team. They can’t speak to the media but they are amazing at leading their team to victory. But let’s say you are not a sports figure but a business owner, because hey, that’s what we are. And say you want to do some webinars or teach a small group, but you are terrified. While the world around you is saying, “Oh Katrina your business is so awesome, you can go talk about it in front of people!” in that “what’s wrong with you” tone, right? These are the people that don’t do public speaking!
So let me help you out a little here. In my corporate career, it was simply expected that the higher you went up in the ranks, the more public speaking you would need to be prepared to perform. Be it in a large company meeting, at a charity event, at a community event, etc. if you were there to represent the company or your area of the business, chances are you would be asked to speak. So knowing that I had to get over any fear I had super fast. How did I do it?
First, it all starts with mindset. Let me share with you what I have told myself and my clients over the years.
Everyone is terrified because they feel like the group is full of strangers and they get fixated on the idea that people they don’t know will be judging them.
Remember that no matter the event, you are going to know people in the room, be it, people, you work with or have just met. You may even have someone you invited to join you in your webinar to support you. Either way, you have at least one person that you know in some capacity. Instead of focusing on who you don’t know, focus on who you do know. Talk to them in your mind while you are speaking. Look at them from time to time in the room. Realize they are there cheering you on, supporting you, and having your back. Not everyone is a stranger. What if I make a mistake and everyone realizes it?
Ok, we all make mistakes. Here’s the key point: who is going to know if you made a mistake besides you? No one. Not one person. You are the expert in the room. So be the expert! If you make a mistake or misspeak, no one is going to know but you. And if you do misspeak, simply say something like I do in one of the many podcast episodes: “Hold on, let me try that again.” Do you think that I don’t know what I’m talking about when I say that? Of course not. So no one will think that if you correct yourself. The point is that one else is going to correct you, even those friends that are in the room with you, so don’t stress.
Second, if you don’t have a mindset barrier it could be a skill set. You may feel very comfortable speaking in front of a group but you’re just not quite sure how to connect with people or present information in a way that will be impactful. Skillset. So let’s go through a few things you need to do in order to present your topic effectively: Meet people where they are. Identify what their issues are and speak to them. Identify with them. Show them you have been there too. Tell them how you got from where they are now to where you are Teach them something
Your challenge today is to think through these pieces. Is it mindset, skillset, or both that you may want to think through and adjust a little bit, all in an effort to make you a great leader AND a great public speaker? Next, try it!