As a small business owner, you may need to make pitches to both small groups of people and larger audiences. This may be a problem if you have a fear of public speaking. However, if you are afraid of speaking in public, you are not alone. It is considered to be even scarier than death among many Americans. What are some things that you can do to overcome your fear of speaking to people?
Get As Much Experience as Possible
The best thing that you can do is to get as much experience talking to people as possible. The more you talk to people, the easier it becomes. You will learn more about your nervous traits, whether you speak too loudly or whether you speak too quickly to get your point across. There are many clubs and organizations that you can join that exist solely to help you get over your fear of speaking in public.
Remember That Your Audience Wants to See You
You don’t just get to speak in front of people because you feel like it. Instead, someone has invited you to make a speech or otherwise address the crowd. Therefore, they are interested in what you have to say and consider you to be someone who is worthy of their time. That alone should make you feel good about yourself and ease your nerves.
Practice Your Speeches Before You Give Them
It is always a good idea to practice your speeches before you give them. Doing so will help you get a better handle on your pace and presence in the room. You can either practice in front of family and friends or practice in front of a mirror. In some cases, it may be best to do both as talking to the mirror allows you to see whether you are moving your hands awkwardly as you talk or if you sway while talking.
Bring Notes to Reference While You Speak
It isn’t a bad thing if you lose your place while you are giving a speech. In fact, most people have note cards or a teleprompter to keep them going when they are talking to a large group of people. You may also want to bring a Powerpoint presentation with you as the slides can keep you focused on your talking points. If you do lose your place or don’t know what to say, don’t be afraid to pause. It is better to say nothing than to say the wrong thing or say something that your audience doesn’t understand.
Use Humor to Connect With the Audience
If you are nervous on stage, it isn’t a bad idea to say so. Your audience understands that talking in public isn’t easy, and they would rather be in their seats than up on stage where you are. Telling a joke at the beginning of a speech or lecture can loosen yourself up, loosen the crowd up and help you focus on what you are trying to accomplish as opposed to the fact that you are talking in public.
Keep Your Goal In Mind
When you speak, you are asking for help or trying to advance your cause. Therefore, what you are saying is more important than who you are. For instance, if you need funding from a company such as AFN, you can’t get it unless you ask. Keeping the bigger picture in mind may make it easier to get over your fear and communicate with those who can help you.
Public speaking is one of the most difficult skills to master because just getting on stage or introducing yourself to people in a crowd can be scary. However, the more you do it, the easier it gets and the better you will become at it. Therefore, do not hesitate to get in front of people and start talking to them today.