Fear of public speaking affects almost 75% of the population and is even more common than fear of death. Why do we tend to feel that our authentic self is not enough when we have to explain our ideas to strangers? We feel stressed about not being likable enough, about not having the right personality type, or not feeling confident enough.
But the truth is, there is no one correct way to do public speaking. Sure, you can choose to mimic someone, but it’s not going to be authentic and therefore trustworthy. People can sense that something is off, but they can’t quite put their finger on it.
How to empower yourself as a person so that you’d feel comfortable sharing your ideas? That is one of the topics that we discussed with Annette Kramer on our latest episode of Powerful Business Talks. Continue reading for key takeaways from the conversation and find the link to the recording at the end of the post!
Why do you care about what you want to say?
- What do you care about and why do you care about it?
- What are you trying to achieve with your message?
- Why should people listen to you?
- What is the value proposition?
- Where is the overlap between what you care and what the listeners care about?
These are the questions you should always keep in mind as they direct the focus from what exactly you want to say to why you want to say it. At the heart of everything that you choose to do lies a deep reason, a purpose. Often, especially in the business environment, we choose to conceal our authentic self and rather pretend to be somebody else, an idea of a person we believe our position or role requires. This is particularly true with marketing and sales people, as they’ve usually been trained to do things a certain way to ensure a level of professionalism. And while it does ensure that, it restricts them in communication and prevents from them feeling more authentic to the people they are communicating with.
Remember what you care about, why you care about what you’re doing and how that’s connected to other things you care about. Sharing this creates an authentic impulse to communicate and it reads to others as trust. This gives a glimpse to the person behind a job, a person behind a suit.
It’s about building relationships, not delivering information
In business and in life it all comes down to relationships. People look for connections, emotions, authenticity. Our curiosity sparks when we hear somebody opening up and being genuine. And when shift the focus from me vs them to us together in this conversation, then people really sense this in your attitude. When people feel that you are genuinely engaging with them, they are much more likely to reciprocate engaging with you, and that’s how you build a relationship.
We’re so used to putting all the work into a slide deck and then building a story around it. But start with the story instead. You are not there to show off all of your knowledge and to prove how smart and intelligent you are, you are there to inspire, to engage and to build relationships. Regardless of your official position, you are always a leader when you convey your ideas. Really think about, believe and understand what makes you a leader- build confidence in that position of leadership.
If you don’t believe that you have what it takes to be confident, then shift the focus again. In acting it’s said that you can’t tell somebody what to be, but you can tell them what to do. So instead of saying to yourself “be confident”, tell yourself to “start a conversation”. It gives your brain a very concrete task to focus on, and it brings down your anxiety. You can start a conversation, right? You do that every single day anyway.
But how to start a conversation? Well, spark curiosity. It’s like a drug – once you’re engaged, you’ll forget about everything else. So, instead of giving a very detailed explanation of what you want to do, share your why instead, and explain to your listeners why they should care about the topic as well. The rest of it will take care of itself through a natural conversation.
Watch the inspiring Powerful Business Talks episode with Annette Kramer:
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