Amazingly, 75% of people are scared of public speaking. And most of those people do it anyway!
As the CEO of Motivii, I’ve given hundreds of presentations & I often hear people mention that I must not get worried or nervous about presenting nowadays.
But here's the the thing… I do! I still feel slightly sick before each presentation, my heart rate rushes at the start and sometimes my mind goes blank. To be honest, I sometimes find it difficult to sleep the night before.
For a while I fought to master the negatives that made me scared of public speaking. I read a lot, I talked to lots of people, I tried lots of different things. And then I had a lightbulb moment… these things are good! I would never experience massive highs at the end of my presentations without the butterflies before them.
I was only scared of public speaking to show myself that I cared!
Here are my top tips to help overcome your fear of public speaking:
- Welcome the butterflies when they appear, it shows that you care about what you are presenting, they are normal.
- Relax, try and speak slowly. Your nerves normally make you talk faster than you realise.
- Own the moment. You're here, you're doing this, so don’t back down when you stand up. Try not to admit to nervousness when you begin speaking. Lots of people won't notice if you don't tell them!
- Pick one or two people to focus on in the audience, it helps calm you down and makes you feel more like you're talking to an individual.
Finally, enjoy the rush & savour the moment at the end after a job well done.
If there are people at your company that are really struggling to speak in front of a crowd, encourage them to join an group like Toastmasters so they can practice their public speaking. These events are intimate and are filled with people just like you. In your own time, you'll have the confidence to get on stage and speak in front of a crowd.
And finally, here's a video of me taken at Google's Demo Day. I was a bit scared, despite being composed on the day!