Are you part of the 30% of Americans with Public Speaking Anxiety (PSA)? If you struggle with speaking in public, improving on these skills is never too late. Not only can it boost your self-confidence, but it can also play a major role in your sales success. From pitching to a large buyer group to speaking as a thought leader during a networking event, speaking in front of others can boost your image (and sales).
Writing for Duarte, Nicole Lowenbraun and Josh Storie share ways to overcome anxiety when engaging in public speaking. You'll find that their suggestions will help you get to the root of your PSA and get past it. Easy to implement, their advice encourages you to look inward to improve, a strategy that you may have yet to try.
Improve on public speaking by creating a "speaker profile"
You're likely familiar with the industry term "buyer profile." But have you heard of a speaker profile? Lowenbraun and Storie explain that those dealing with PSA can find relief by creating such a profile. It involves being conscious of how you feel when public speaking.
"When you’re preparing to speak, take some time to observe and write down any thoughts you’re having and any sensations you feel," they explain. "Creating this written speaker profile will help you find the right solutions and right positive triggers for you.
"Another element of creating a speaker profile is to look to the past. Think back to a time when you engaged in public speaking, and ask yourself questions about that experience. Consider asking yourself:
- What was on your mind ahead of time?
- What was on your mind while you were speaking?
- Was the audience unfamiliar?
- Was the setting unfamiliar?
- Was your content familiar?
- Was your content controversial?
- Were you new to your company?
Along with other questions that examine the condition in which you spoke, these situations shed light on what is triggering your public speaking anxiety. To improve on something, you must first understand it — these questions will help. Next, look for trends and other factors that can reveal a common cause or trigger.
"With this information from your speaker profile, you now have a deeper awareness about what’s driving your speaking anxiety,” they explain. “You can use this insight to build a game plan later." This game plan may require more preparation or a different approach or type of delivery.
Shift your mindset
We’ve already discussed how important mindset is in sales. It also can play a role in improving public speaking. Your mind can fuel anxiety from ruminating over past mistakes to conjuring up “what ifs” right before a speech. When you feel negative thoughts creeping in before a public speaking event, take control of your focus. Lowenbraun and Storie share some public speaking tips and examples of how a subtle shift in thinking can make a big difference:
- Instead of thinking, “I’m so nervous,” believe, “I’m ready.” As the writers explain, “The nervousness you feel physiologically is actually adrenaline rushing through your body, causing a flight, fight, or freeze response. Start thinking of that feeling as adrenaline preparing you to deliver a great presentation and become a good public speaker.”
- Rather than think you must be perfect, focus on the phrase, “My aim is progress, not perfection.” This change in mindset frees you from self-criticism and instead emphasizes improving your public speaking skills. While high standards for yourself are a great goal, don’t pressure yourself to be flawless.
These are only two of the writers’ examples of how to adjust self-talk. As they point out, “It might feel impossible, but you can change your mindset when it comes to your public speaking fears by speaking differently — to yourself.
”Like any other skill, public speaking takes concentrated effort and practice. But with these tips, sellers can use their inner voices and reflection to improve on those skills. For even more advice on the topic, check out our other professional tips.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio