Have you ever asked yourself, “How can I get over being self-conscious when speaking in front of an audience? How am I able to become more confident when speaking to a crowd? You are in the right place.
Whether you're speaking to an 'in-person audience' at a venue or making a presentation over zoom, today's talk will give you actionable steps you can take to become a better public speaker.
Before we start, I'd like to ask you a question and I want you to answer in the comments.
What is it that has you interested in becoming a better speaker?
I'm really looking forward to reading what you write so thank you.
So, let's begin with my adaptation of chapter one of the art of public speaking.
Let's start with a little story. I want you to visualize you're on a train and your head is leaned against the glass window. Outside you can see horses grazing on the grass by the fence, unfazed by the loud racket of the train, not even bothering to look up at it.
Further down the tracks by the crossing there is another horse rearing and struggling to be calmed by its owner. This nervous horse is from a farm a few miles away and is rarely exposed to the thundering of the rails.
How do you suppose a horse can get over its fear of trains? Would it be appropriate to keep the horse locked far away from trains or to feed the horse closer to the trains?
In this situation, the answer would be to expose the horse to the train as often as possible.
EXPOSE THE HORSE!
The same logic applies to Reading yourself of self-consciousness and fear. Facing an audience as often as possible will help you overcome any instinct to shy away.
I want you to overcome and achieve freedom from stage fright, but that will never happen by reading books to yourself in the middle of the night.
Sooner or later, you'll have to jump in and get a little wet. No one learns to swim by sitting on the beach!
Repetitive exposure (otherwise known as practice) to speaking before an audience will gradually remove your fear of the audience. No one who ever learned to be great at public speaking got there by not publicly speaking.
Unfortunately, I can't take this plunge for you, just as a doctor may prescribe you medication it's still up to you to take that medication. I am simply here to offer you suggestions as to how you can best prepare for your plunge into the world of public speaking.
FIRST, don't be ashamed if you suffer from stage fright. Fear of public speaking is one of the most common fears in the world.
Even some master speakers never completely overcome stage fright, but I think it’s still worth leaning in with full effort to conquer it.
Think about an empty glass filled with air. Let the air inside that glass represent your fears and self-consciousness. One way to get that air out of the glass is by pouring in some water. So, what are some ways we can pour water into that glass?
Blacksmiths sometimes twist a rope around the nose of a horse that causes a relatively small amount of pain to distract the horse while it is getting new shoes put on.
Let’s pour water into the glass and guide the attention of the horse.
First, be thrilled about what you're talking about. Try to be completely absorbed by your subject. Speak only about things that truly interest you. This can help to diminish those pesky (and frankly less important) fearful thoughts.
It's too late to think about what you're wearing or if your hair looks good when you're about to speak, so do your best to center your focus on what you're about to say. Fill your mind with ideas and thoughts related to your talk or speech. focusing on your subject this way is like pouring water into that glass, it will drive out unsubstantial worries with ease.
Self-consciousness is unneeded consciousness about yourself. When it comes to delivering a powerful talk or message the self is secondary to the subject or topic you're speaking on.
Even when sharing a personal story, the main concern should be what morals can be gained from the story. Put the moral or the core meaning of what you're saying on a pedestal and hold it higher than your temporary feelings.
Again, the self is secondary to your subject, not only in the opinion of the audience but if you are wise in your own opinion as well. To hold a view other than this would be like considering yourself an exhibit instead of a messenger with a message worthy of delivering.
I'd Like to take a moment to say that if your goal is to be an exhibit that's OK and I have no qualms with that. Many people are stand-up comedians and actors.
It is egotistical to fill your mind with thoughts of self when there's something greater to share. Truth!
Far worse than self-consciousness through 'fear of doing poorly' is self-consciousness through an 'assumption of doing well'.
According to the art of public speaking by Dale Carnegie which this reading is actually an adaptation of, the first sign of greatness is when a person Doesn't attempt to look and act great.
Confidence in Your talking points and finely tuned expressive capabilities Is not a bad thing but a poem titled "IF" by the writer Rudyard Kipling tells us it's also important to "not look too good nor talk too wise."
A link to Kipling's original poem can be found in the description of this video.
Nothing is more obvious than conceit. Sometimes a speaker can be so self-involved that it renders the words leaving their lips hollow.
Some things in this world are bigger than the self. In working for higher things, the self ends up taking a backseat and our personal experiences become treasured stories we can use to help us achieve higher purposes.
I'll restate it one more time, be absorbed by your subject, not of yourself.
Have Something to Say
Another problem many speakers face is that when they go in front of an audience their mind is blank. Nature then, being nature, seeks to fill this vacuum in the mind with the nearest available thoughts, which tend to be. "I wonder if I am doing this right! How does my hair look? This is going horribly; I can't wait till this is over with". These primarily negative thoughts bring about a mirrored reality in an almost prophetic way.
You can be very absorbed in your subject and passionate about it but to acquire the self-confidence you're looking for do you have to have something to be confident about. Without any preparation or knowledge of your subject, you probably should be a little self-conscious. You're stealing the time of your audience or worse providing them bad information.
So, prepare yourself, know what you're going to talk about and how you're going to say it.
Have at least the first few sentences worked out Perfectly and save them aloud beforehand. This will help prevent any stumbling in the beginning.
Know your subject better than your audience knows it and you will have nothing to fear.
All of the preparation work has been completed, you have prepared for success, now expect it!
Carry yourself publicly with modest confidence.
Internalize modest confidence.
Overconfidence is bad but thinking about failure is even worse.
Your attitude will attract an outcome in like kind.
A bold presenter can win attention by Displaying an Outgoing exuberance And Passion for sharing knowledge
Another presenter Fixating on Self, what can go wrong, and Matters secondary to the subject, invites disaster.
Humility is not something that discredits you, It's not the display of some sort of worm-like meekness. No, Humility Is The display of a belief that your audience is capable of what you are. That everyone in the room is part of the greater spirit of humanity working together to build a better world. Humility displays a spirit of service toward others.
If you believe you will fail, there is no hope for you. You will.
Believing that you will fail means you will fail and there is no hope. Get rid of any nihilistic thoughts of bones to dust.
Humanity would be hard-pressed to numerate your capabilities, and some would even argue your capabilities are infinite.
Your mind is a powerful generator of thoughts and ideas that can be formed into words and shared with your audience.
All things are ready for you if your mind is ready, or, If the eagle is ready to look the cloudless sun in the face.
Once while introducing Charles Dickens at a dinner, Washington Irving, in the middle of his speech, hesitated. After the brief interruption, he became so embarrassed and Awkwardly return to his table to sit down. He then turned to a friend and said "There, I told you I would fail, and I did."
Again. Humility is good. Entertaining ideas of failure Is setting your own thoughts against you, So don't do it, You have failed your mind with relevant ideas worth sharing and now you're ready to share them. You got this!
Assume Mastery Over Your Audience
Just like with electricity, in public speech, there is a positive and negative factor.
Either your audience is going to be the positive factor, or you can be the positive factor. You want to be the positive factor with information flowing to the audience, not vice versa. Remembering that your audience is infinitely more important than you is important but you don't have to be reactive to the audience. The stage is yours not theirs when you are speaking. Assume you were capable of Instructing and inspiring the masses even if you were only speaking within a small group of people. Be courageous, remember what you've prepared and the value of what you are sharing. Calmness and confidence rush over you when you realize the value is not you but rather what you are sharing. And even if your delivery is not perfect, And the masses may not be immediately inspired, you are Sharpening your sword. No Learns to speak better who isn't speaking the best they can right now. So at the very least, you can be confident in that.
Know that your audience won't hurt you, Don't be afraid of others with opposing viewpoints, Confronting hostile hearers fearlessly will win many of them over.
100 chances to one most of the people listening to you want you to succeed, for who would be foolish enough to spend their time and in some cases their money that you would waste What they have invested By Giving a dull talk.
Take a deep breath relax begin speaking in a quiet conversational tone kind of like if you were speaking to a friend. Actually, imagine you are speaking to a friend. Once you begin speaking it's really like you've taken the plunge, once you're in the water will begin to feel fine. In the future, you'll even anticipate taking the plunge again. To stand before an audience and have them think thoughts with you is one of the greatest pleasures one can know and can create a beautiful sense of community. Instead of fearing it look forward to it.
Cast out fear, face the audience, if your knees quake, make them stop. In your audience lies a victory for you and the cause you represent so go win it.
Suppose our forefathers were too timid to oppose the Tierney of George the third. Suppose that any man who ever did anything worthwhile hadn't. The world owes its progress to people who have shared, and you must dare to speak. You must dare to speak affectively so your word in the heart of its meaning can enter the minds of the people you were speaking to. Muster the courage to other that first sentence. Monuments are not raised, and stories are not told for those who do not do what they can.
Do not dwell in sympathy or doubts, Victory lies in the fearless mindset.
Prof. Walter Dill Scott said, "Success or failure in business is caused more by your mental attitude even than by mental capacity."
Many of the ideas presented today will be repeated and enforced as we continue, and we will dive into many of them in much more specific ways.
Remember, Public speaking is an art, an art that Mr. Gladstone believes to be more powerful than even the public press. As your confidence grows, please note that self-confidence must also be justifiable. This will come up again and again.