In my experience there are a few key skills that are crucial to success, pretty much regardless of the chosen field of endeavor. One of those skills is public speaking.
It has been said that people fear public speaking more-so than death. Amazing!
I can honestly say this once applied to me. In college when I was asked to give my first speech I freaked out (cold sweat, dry mouth, blank stare); a very poor showing indeed. Later, in my 20’s when involved in a network marketing business (a story for another time) I was “tricked” by my sponsor into giving a presentation to a group of my friends. I wasn’t too happy with my sponsor at the time (I responded by calling him a…not so nice name 🙂 ). Once I completed the presentation (and I did know “pretty much” what I was talking about) I felt GOOD!
The lid came off as I realized that I could do this! While I still get nervous in advance of “most” public speaking engagements, it is now an enjoyable RUSH!
There are a number of ways to develop public speaking skills. I’d highly recommend checking out Toastmasters International, for a club near you!
A fantastic book I’ve read (numerous times) on the subject is:
The most important advice I could give is “just do it!” There is nothing like having something to say, to a gathered audience (of 3 or 300) and letting it fly! Yes, you will make mistakes. If you know what you are talking about (just don’t pretend to “know it all”, no-one does) and prepare in advance you will find that most audiences are forgiving. Remember, the majority of participants fear what you are doing (public speaking) more-so than death! At least you’re up there doing it…
2 applicable quotes:
Know what you wish to say, say it with all the feeling you command, and then sit down! ~ Napoleon Hill
Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
The more we do those things we fear, or are uncomfortable doing, the more we breakdown our “self-imposed” limitations. Overcoming the fear of public speaking (and/or continuously improving this skill) is a crucial step towards igniting your career! Enjoy the process!
As someone with quite a bit of experience in public speaking, “just do it” is great advice. The phrase is applicable to many other areas of our lives where we erect self-imposed fears.
Thanks Rev. Jim!
Toastmasters really helped me with public speaking. It only took a few small speeches to start feeling confident enough to give a best man toast at a large wedding only a few months later. It’s great now feeling like I can focus on delivering my message rather than simply trying to not appear nervous.
Hi Bill – Thanks for your testimony on Toastmasters. Glad it worked out well for you!
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