Do you have glossophobia? Are you familiar with the term? Glossophobia is the anxiety of public speaking and approximately 75 percent of people have this fear. Jerry Seinfeld jokes that at a funeral, most people would rather be lying in a casket than delivering a eulogy.
All jokes aside though, we still need to give presentations during our lifetime. Perhaps you have one scheduled with your senior team soon. If so, this article is for you. I am also writing this for those of you who wish to get better at public speaking, and to those who would even like to become professional speakers.
I reached out to some of my favorite speakers to ask them for their recommendations to help you get better at public speaking. To make your presentations amazing, you need to research the topics and practice frequently, even rehearse in front of your friends and colleagues before taking it to the board of directors. Keynote speaker, Bryan Eisenberg from Buyer Legends says, “Identify how you want your management to feel and what you want them to do before you even think about presenting.”
Tamsen Webster, Executive Director of TEDx Cambridge reminds us to stay cool.
“Admit your nerves, but don't apologize for them. Admitting them relieves the pressure from you — you don't have to add the stress of trying not to be nervous to the stress of being nervous," Webster said. "It also puts the audience in the role of encouragement and support.”
From novice to experienced speakers, you want to create a stellar presentation
Thom Singer from NYP Speakers shares his advice: “Have a clear opening and close. Think about how you will start and how you will end. Then make the middle match.” This will make for an enjoyable presentation that your audience will happily follow along with.
Take it to the next level
If you get a taste for speaking and want to do it more, it’s time to take it to the next level. Join your local Rotary Club or National Speaking Association Chapter to practice and improve your art.
Judson Laipply, President of Evolution of Dance recommends, “Start locally, seek out every local group that has weekly or monthly meetings and offer to speak. Actually speaking is the best way to get more opportunities.”
The more you speak, the more you speak!
Rob Cottingham from Social Signal suggests, “Look for worthy causes and events whose mandate dovetails with the subjects you speak about, and volunteer. And don't just think keynotes: in fact, at first, don't think about keynotes at all. Instead, look for panels, breakout sessions and conference tracks. Find the smaller venues where you can over deliver on your audience's expectations.” This is truly powerful advice that will help you advance your speaking career.
I am lucky to belong to an amazing network of professional speakers. Many of them contributed the tips I’ve included in this article. I will leave you with one of my favorites from Attention Expert, Neen James, “Remember it’s a conversation, not a presentation — it's not about you, it's about standing in service of your audience.”
Are you still not sure about public speaking? There is a remedy for glossophobia — speak more. The more you practice the better you become.
This article originally appeared in The Tennessean Newspaper.