Most of us are comfortable speaking and communicating with other people and do so every day. Yet, for some reason, when it comes to speaking from a public platform, most people shrink back because they feel inadequate. Why is this?
“We get virtually no training in these skills. We’re just expected to know them”, says Ruth Sherman, Celebrity Speech Coach. Furthermore, we’ve been led to believe that some people have the gift for public speaking and some don’t. If you’re one of those who don’t – you’re out of luck. Nothing is further from the truth. Public speaking can be learned.
If you are in any kind of leadership role, a major part of your influence depends on your ability to communicate well. According to Kevin Wagonfoot, author of Mental Models, three of five aptitudes key to success fall under the category of communication skills. Public speaking is on this list along with the art of persuasion and writing ability. He rounds out the list with productivity and an understanding of basic finance and accounting.
If communication skills are among the most important for success, wouldn’t you say it’s worth investing in your ability to articulate your ideas? Whether it’s a networking meeting where you are called on to simply introduce yourself and state what you do, a community meeting where you are speaking on behalf of a cause that matters, or an interview about something you are passionate about – you can refine your ability to communicate well.
There is power in your voice. The halls of history are full of people who used their one voice and made a tremendous difference in the world. The voice that has impacted you the most isn’t even likely to be a celebrity – it’s probably someone you know personally. Your voice matters. No one else in the world carries the unique message, experiences, and perspective you do. Your voiceprint is as individual as your fingerprint. It’s also as natural as your fingerprint and your authentic voice is an awesome asset.
I love helping people express themselves with confidence and clarity. With that in mind, here are three simple tips to build your confidence when you have the opportunity to speak. And by the way, the time to prepare is before you’re asked. There’s power in your voice. Speak up!
3 Tips on Speaking with Confidence
- Be yourself. Competence gives you confidence and you’ve had lots of practice being you. Authenticity will allow your heart to shine through your intellect. It takes both to win your audience.
- Don’t read – ENGAGE with your listeners. Condense your notes to bullet points and take a 4″ x 6″ index card to the podium. You can write your message out word for word for practice only. If you have lengthy notes, you will be tempted to read them. Don’t do it.
- Incorporate stories. If people wanted straight information, they would just Google it. Your stories bring your message to life and make it memorable.
Note: The video version delivers three tips in three minutes. The reason it’s only 3 minutes is your bonus tip: Keep it UNDER the time allotted. It’s always better to err on the side of brevity than by talking too long.