Public Speaking – Biggest Fear or Fastest Path to Cash?
Okay, I looked it up, because I roll like that; fear of public speaking is called Glassophobia. Not that you are expected to remember it but I like learning new words.
It’s said that 75% of people experience some kind of nervousness or anxiety in relation to public speaking. A little nervousness is a good thing in my opinion. It keeps you on your toes and your brain alert.
But for those who find the thought of speaking in public mind numbingly dreadful, I urge you to think of it in a new light. Because as one of my mentors, Suzanne Evans, says, public speaking is your fastest path to cash if you are an entrepreneur trying to run and grow a business.
And truthfully, I have to agree. Public speaking has been the single most important activity in growing my business and continues to be a part of my boutique marketing firm’s success path in acquiring new clients and new opportunities.
When we talk about public speaking, don’t get your panties in a twist imaging that you have to be on a big stage with thousands of people looking at you waiting for you to do or say something brilliant. It’s not that complicated.
Public Speaking can be successful in small intimate settings.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that speaking in public is a big show. Although, you may want to ultimately aspire to that, you don’t need to start there.
I have done talks for groups as small as eight people and had success. Remember, you are better off finding the ONE right connection than 1000 cold stares. Small is not a bad thing when we’re talkin’ bout public speaking. Especially if you are just getting started and have some fear to conquer.
To that end, let’s go over some public speaking tips that will help you get into the right mindset and on the fastest path to cash in growing your small business.
Tip #1: Consider Joining a Club that Trains in Public Speaking
There are several national and international organizations that help people become better public speakers. They have curricula to help even the most anxiety ridden nervous Nelly learn to be a better public speaker. Check out Rostrum, Toastmasters International, Association of Speakers Clubs (ASC), Speaking Circles, or POWERtalk International in your geographic area and see what they have to offer. There are probably fees associated with membership but you are getting a course in public speaking from professionals who can help you hone your skills.
Okay so maybe joining a club isn’t for you. You’re more the lone wolf type. Why not approach your networking group (and if you don’t belong to a networking group, we’ll discuss that during a future blog post. And by the way, shame on you). Offer to do a free seminar on a topic that you know inside and out. It will give you a chance to put material together for a formal talk and you can ask for feedback on your content, delivery and presentation as payment for the free advice you are delivering. If you don’t have or want to speak to other professionals, get friends and neighbors together for the same purpose. Have some drinks and food afterwards and let them help you refine your talk. Starting with friendly faces can take a lot of the fear out of public speaking.
Tip #3: Volunteer in a Local Organization
The majority of my public speaking training came from volunteering in my community. The volunteering was the important part, but speaking to others on behalf of the organization was a necessary part of the gig. Whether my years as a Scout leader, PTA member, Sunday school teacher, church president, Little League coach (you’re getting the picture right…I’m a recovering over-volunteered stay at home mom) when you are in charge of something, you end up speaking on behalf of the organization even in small settings around a kitchen table or at a picnic. Don’t discount the value of these public speaking engagements, they are a training ground for learning to deliver information and help to people who are interested. It’s no different from what you do for your business. Offer to help and educate; interested people will listen.
In terms of growing your business, public speaking allows you to reach more people in a shorter period of time. It beats the heck out of talking to potential clients one at a time. It also serves to get you noticed within your field of expertise. Public speaking has a natural celebrity factor equated that builds buzz, creates PR and helps you help more people, faster. And isn’t that why you’re in business to begin with?
Public speaking may be your biggest fear but get over it already, because it’s also your fasted path to cash.