I very publicly share how public speaking has been a massive challenge for me. I've spent many years telling myself that I couldn't do it, and it was only relatively recently that I realized this simply wasn't true.
I chose to overcome my fear and started the process of learning how to present in public. I remember a friend telling me that she loved public speaking, and I was incredulous. How could anyone love speaking on stage?
Believe it or not, now I do. I love it! It's so amazing to share my knowledge and experience, and know that my words are in the hearts and minds of the audience.
Here are some tips I learned along the way that will help you improve your public speaking.
1. Prepare and practice
The more prepared I am, the less nervous I am. Research your topic thoroughly and prepare your speech and then practice, practice, practice.
2. Know your audience
Before any speaking opportunity, find out information about the audience. This will help you to tailor your speech to their needs and level of knowledge.
3. Find your lighthouses
My friend and speaking coach, Mariette Rups-Donnelly, taught me this, and I use it every single time: find the lighthouses in the room. They are the people who are engaged and listening to you. Speak to them and they will feed you energy. It works every time.
4. Relax and deliver
Try to overcome your nerves. This was the hardest thing for me to do, but it's important to relax and be yourself. You can use relaxation techniques such as controlled breathing to calm your nerves and making sure you are prepared.
5. Become a regular public speaker
Trust me, the more you practice public speaking, the more successful you will be. Start by speaking at small events and then build up to bigger ones. Say yes as much as possible to every speaking opportunity.
Speaking made a significant difference and helped me move from someone unknown to a recognized expert. I would never have believed that I would enjoy it so much, and it's such an empowering thing to do.
Remember, being in the spotlight isn't about you; it's about the people whose path you illuminate with your knowledge. The world needs to hear what you have to say. It's your time to shine.
About the author
Catriona Pollard is the author of From Unknown To Expert, a step by step framework designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective PR and social media strategies to become recognized as influencers in their field. www.unknowntoexpert.com
Catriona is also the director of CP Communications, which merges traditional PR tactics with cutting-edge social media strategies that engage consumers as well as business. www.cpcommunications.com.au