You’re dressed in your crisp professional wear. Your slides are perfect, your presentation rehearsed, you’ve practiced your speech in front of the mirror, in your living room, in your sleep atleast a hundred times.
On the D-day, you stand in front of your audience fully prepared; ready to blow their minds away when…suddenly your mouth turns dry, your palms get sweaty and your heart races to the next beat. All you want to do is walk off and never speak in front of a crowd again.Had that feeling before?
Jerry Seinfeld famously said, “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that seem right? That means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
In my journey as a public speaker and speaker- trainer, I regularly work with students, entrepreneurs and senior executives. From corporates to universities, my audiences have been some of the most technically proficient, experienced and brilliant people I have come across; why then would they be nervous standing in front of an audience and talking about a subject they know best about?
In my experience, there are two main reasons that make us nervous on stage, and I’ll share how to overcome them, to help you find the speaker within. The two reasons are-
• Memorizing your ‘script’
• Fear of judgement
Many of us prepare what we want to say word-to-word. We have the concept, the slides, the graphs, the jokes all perfectly rehearsed and we recite our thoughts on stage. But your speech is not a script; your speech is your story.
That’s why; rule #1 in my book is Know Your Story, Not Your Script. Just like how you don’t forget stories from your personal life, think of your speech as a story to share with your audience. What’s the back story of your presentation or speech? Why do you want to share it? Why should you audience care to know? Once you think of your speech as a story, you’ll never forget it again.
The second reason that holds us back from giving a remarkable performance is the fear of judgement. What if? What if I forget my speech? What will people think of me? What if I don’t make a good impression?
Think of when you’re speaking with your friends or colleagues casually. Do you fear talking to them? NO. Why? Because you have a relation with them, they are your friends, acquaintances; you share an ease and comraderie that comes naturally.
Now imagine, Your Audience Is Your Friend. Imagine you’re sitting with them in a comfortable casual setting, and you’re telling them a story. It’s an interesting story that you’re passionate about, and you can’t wait to tell them. Now, your audience is no longer a crowd of judgmental watchful eyes. They are your friends, sitting with you, across the room, waiting for your story. And just like that, the fear of judgement disappears as you begin sharing stories with your friends.
These are two simple ways how we can overcome any debilitating fear or nerves when in front of a crowd and share our stories with passion and enthusiasm. And it’s not just the Barack Obamas, Oprah Winfreys or Abraham Lincolns who make incredible speakers.
My biggest belief has always been that every individual has the potential to be an incredible speaker. A confident speech is a lot more than only presenting statistics or facts on stage. As a confident speaker, you have the opportunity to empower yourself and to inspire others. You have the opportunity of translating your thoughts, your visions, your emotions and your beliefs. You have the opportunity of forming a timeless bond with your audience.
Today as a professional speaker, my only message to my audience is that you are no less than the idols you aspire to be. You are a powerhouse, with latent potential within waiting to be explored and nurtured. With practice and passion, you can and you will become the best speaker you could ever dream to be, and in the process, inspire your audience to continue this legacy.
All you need to do is Find The Speaker Within.
Written bySangbreeta Moitra
Sangbreeta is an award winning international public speaker and trainer based in The Netherlands, her passion is to help her audience find the speaker and leader within. She has won top awards in European public speaking championships in 2013 and 2014; she also endeavors as Global Project Manager in the pharmaceutical industry.
She has spoken and taught at various platforms such as TEDxUtrecht, PEP Talks, Shell, NAM BV, INC Research (Clinical Trials), University of Amsterdam, University of Groningen, BCF Life Science Career Event, Rotaract and Toastmasters.
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