Tips for Overcoming Your Fear of Public Speaking

Posted: 31st October 2016


By: Sandra Garlick MBE

Tips for Overcoming Your Fear of Public Speaking

Standing up for the first time in front of other business owners or an audience can be a daunting prospect.

However, these tips may help you overcome that fear. Remember…It’s all about preparation!

Build up your confidence slowly…

Start at a local business network meeting where there is a small group of people you know well.  Rehearse in front of your work colleagues or friends. You can increase your confidence slowly and you will soon be speaking to larger audiences with confidence.

Tell a Story…

Rather than doing a sales pitch, tell a story, and make yourself memorable for the right reasons.  If you share an interesting fact, a personal experience or a useful piece of information, you are far more likely to be remembered rather than simply stating who you are, what you do and what you sell.

Imagine your audience in a different context…

Someone once suggested to me that if you imagine your audience in pyjamas that this will relax you!  However you decide to imagine your audience, pick something that makes you feel comfortable and confident.  Alternatively, have a few people you know in the audience and imagine it’s just a conversation between you.

Engage with your audience…

Smile and most importantly…..don’t forget to breathe. Pause, especially if you lose track of what you are saying.  If you speak too quickly, your audience will miss vital information.  Ask questions, interact by carrying out polls, ask for volunteers and invite questions.  When speaking, use your tone of voice, vary your pitch and don’t forget to share personal experiences.  If you have a large audience, maintain eye contact.  It’s a good tactic to pick 3 faces (left, right and centre) and focus on them throughout your talk or presentation. That way you appear to be speaking to the whole audience.

Know your topic…

Avoid reading from pages of notes or using excessive written content on PowerPoint slides, they should be used as a prompt only.  Try to talk about topics you know well and avoid heavy sales pitches. Share your knowledge and expertise, become a giver and sharer of information and the sales will follow later.

Be authentic…

Be yourself. Trying to be someone else or someone you think you ought to be will lead you to stumble.  Just be authentic to who you are and you will come across as genuine.  People buy from people and your honesty and natural authenticity will shine through.

Sandra Garlick is a business growth consultant and mentor.  She regularly speaks throughout the UK on various business growth topics.  To enquire about Sandra speaking at your event, please call 024 7621 4440.

You can follow Sandra on Twitter @SandraGarlick