I was so nervous. I was worried about saying the wrong things. My voice got shaky and my hands were shaking. I said "um" all the time. I felt my heart beating fast. I felt short of breath. I couldn't stop blushing. I felt embarrassed, ashamed of myself.
After that failure, I did whatever it took to get over my fear of public speaking. I took online courses on public speaking. I worked with public speaking coaches.
Fast-forward a few months, I spoke in front of a group. I was still a bit nervous about speaking in public but I knew the audience wanted me to succeed. Instead of focusing on my own fears, I focused on serving my audience. I became a confident speaker.
I've got over my fear of public speaking in three simple steps. Apply these steps so you too can overcome public speaking anxiety:
While preparing for my speech, I didn't know what to say. A great speaker asked me, "If you could have one sentence instead of the entire presentation, what would you say?"
My message was, "Go for your dreams and never give up." Using that as a guide, I came up with personal stories that people could relate to. In just minutes, I wrote an entire memorable talk.
The takeaway: Create a clear overall message so you know exactly what to say.
2. Practice, with a coach.
Practice doesn't make perfect; practice with coaching makes great improvement. I wanted to have a powerful voice, so I worked with celebrity voice coach Roger Love. He has a track record of having worked with successful professionals, including Tony Robbins and Suze Orman.
With his help, I learned to do voice exercises before speaking, to warm up my voice. The more I practiced, the more confident I became. I now have a powerful voice.
The takeaway: If you want to practice public speaking more effectively, get coaching.
Confident speakers are performers. They express ideas effectively and confidently.
I once had to speak in front of a group of senior executives over age 40. I worried that they might say, "You're too young. You're not qualified to speak here." And then I remembered what Richard Branson taught me: "Picture you're talking to friends in the living room."
I arrived at the venue early. I talked to audience members: "Hi, I'm Jonathan, it's good to meet you." Once I was on stage, people no longer thought of me as a stranger. I was a friend.
The takeaway: Picture yourself talking to friends in your living room, so you will be more comfortable and in-control.
Follow these three steps so you can get over fear of public speaking effectively.
What's your biggest challenge when it comes to public speaking? I look forward to reading your comments.
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