July is “Freedom from Fear of Speaking” month so we’re offering small business owners tips and tricks to help them overcome their fears. Being able to address a crowd is a vital skill for any entrepreneur. You might have the opportunity to sit on an expert panel, present at a networking event or give a speech to potential investors, customers and clients. Don’t miss out on the chance to promote your business – you can do this!
Turn Negatives into Positives
Self-doubt is a nasty enemy. If you have a public speaking event coming up, you might be asking yourself negative questions like, “What if I mess up?” or “What if I forget my speech?” Put a positive spin on those questions you’re asking yourself. “What if I give a great speech?” Don’t let the voices in your head get you down.
This sounds simple but there’s more to it than picking out an outfit and having your presentation memorized. Who is your audience and what are their interests? What is the goal you’re trying to achieve? Do you plan on interacting with the audience? Nailing down the details can make being on a stage less scary.
Ask for Help
Suggestions and observations from others can be invaluable. Ask a trusted friend or colleague to watch your presentation a few times. There might be places where you can cut or embellish for clarity. Not only will this help you craft the final draft of your presentation, you’ll get a boost of confidence.
Practice Out Loud
Going over your speech silently isn’t a great strategy. Say your spiel out loud in front of a mirror to help you memorize your presentation and sound more natural.
Show Up Early
Don’t discount the benefits of mingling. Scout out the space and introduce yourself to a few audience members. Seeing familiar faces in the crowd can help ease anxiety.
It’s easy but important advice. Simply take some deep breaths. When nervous, people tend to breathe quickly and shallowly. Before you approach the microphone, take a few, slow breaths and repeat. Amit Ray, a chanting and meditation expert has this to say, “If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.”
Still scared? Technology might be the answer. A new Android app for Google Cardboard uses a virtual audience to help you get over your fears. Public Speaking for Cardboard offers two location choices — a small conference room and a large auditorium — with animated audience members and ambient noise to simulate speaking on a stage.
The SBA is a great source of information for every small business owner. Once you’ve quashed your fears, check out this article How to Market Your Business with Public Speaking. Words of wisdom include “The more often you speak in public, the more confident you’ll grow, until eventually you may find public speaking to be one of your most successful methods of getting new business.”