"Overcoming One of Life's Greatest Fears"
Building self-confidence and your career
When working with a leadership or communications class, I often use humor as an icebreaker: "What are life's three biggest fears? Of course, death is number one, speaking in public is number two, and dying while speaking in public is number three."
If your job responsibilities require you to present projects or ideas at meetings or even worse, represent your company or department at a conference or large event, you know that the fear of dying while speaking in public is not funny.
However once mastered, and yes, you can overcome your fear, becoming a good public speaker will do wonders for your career and self-confidence. Here are a few tips...
** Start small - Offer to present a portion of your team or department proposal. Talking about information you know well in front of a friendly group helps you gain confidence
** Get help - Check to see if there is a Toastmaster chapter in your area. The organization's sole purpose is to help people become comfortable with speaking in public.
** Change your perspective - Instead of seeing yourself as a hapless victim of your fear who is going to underperform; see yourself as a helpful guide, teacher, and sharer of information
** Have a conversation - Rather than delivering just cold, hard, data, think of your presentation as though you were speaking to a few friends. People remember stories more than numbers. Make it interesting.
** Begin and end strong - Know what you're going to say in advance. Get their attention with a good story or little known fact. Then leave them with a memorable story and farewell line.
Being a good public speaker is something you can learn. YOU CAN do it. For more detailed insight on how to master this important skill, read "Fear of Public Speaking".