Who Else Wants to Speak Up Without Melting Down?

2 minute read

I’m preparing a communication talk for financial advisors.

As excited as I am for this experience, the inevitable self-doubt surfaces.

I can go on about the importance of preparation – and how that significantly decreases the anxiety induced nausea. But you know what? We know that. We know how important it is to prepare. And yet, a lot of times the fear of speaking remains.

So, I’m dedicating the next few weeks of sharing with you my process of preparing for a talk. I hope that it will encourage, relieve, and inspire you to go and speak up about what matters to you most.

A few years ago I across a book that spoke to me immediately. It’s a little book, no major hype, no digital marketing plan. I fell on it solely through researching for workshops. It was one of the best finds ever. It is now my go-to book for all talks, workshops, and clients.

The book is called: “Speak Up! Speak Out! Acting Techniques That Make Public Speaking Fun and Fearless by Kathryn Marie Bild. I will be referencing this book over the next few weeks along with a few other solid resources to help you with speaking in public.

But I don’t speak in public. I have sub-zero desire ever to do it. I’m out.

Okay – whoa there, tiger. Any time that we’re speaking to anyone other than ourselves we’re practicing public speaking. Specifically, we’re talking about any speaking opportunity in which you’re able to prepare in advance. Whether you’re speaking to a room of thousands, hundreds, or sitting across from two people, many of the same techniques work for them all. Yes, there are differences, but for now, we’ll focus on one major similarity.

No matter the size of your audience, as much as it is about them, you have to start with yourself.

We always hear that it’s about the audience. It’s for the audience. Yes, that’s true, but if you don’t ground yourself in your message, then you’ve lost them from the start.

Not knowing your audience, can create major panic, even when talking on topics you love and know well. The following exercise is a sure-fire way to help you gain more confidence in what you have to say and why you have to say it.

By creating a sense of self-awareness and focus, you can carry this with you to anchor you in your truth before you even begin to prepare.

In Bild’s book, she offers some excellent questions to help lead the way.
Anytime I prepare for any speaking gig I grab a pad of paper and pen and write down my answers to these questions.

1. What are my values?
2. What do I believe in?
3. Why am I writing/speaking about this? (The topic at hand)
4. Who am I talking to?
5 What is my objective?

She goes on to give these wise words: “No speech is too small, and no concern too unimportant to be dismissed as insignificant to this effort. If you believe in what you are doing and saying, you don’t have to pretend or turn your enthusiasm, or your pitch, on and off.”

What the above exercise does, is allow the self-doubt to subside and your focus to realign to what matters.

If you have any presentations, of any size, coming up, give this a shot. Worst case scenario, it will only reaffirm what you already know. Best case scenario? You’ll gain major insight into yourself and your audience.

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