There’s something about public speaking that’s both exciting…and terrifying.
On the one hand, public speaking helps you connect with a lot of new people, your audience and other speakers. This, in turn, increases the chances of meeting a potential client, a business partner, or a long-lasting friendship. It can be highly rewarding, boosting your self-esteem and public image.
On the other hand, standing up in front of hundreds of people is scary. Once you’re on stage, you feel those blinding lights in your face, the hot mic in your hand, the slides behind you, and in many cases physical symptoms like trembling hands or a shaky voice.
How to Master the Art of Public Speaking
Especially for freelancers and consultants, however, the pros are simply far too important to let these cons stop you. Which raises a question: How can you leave behind the fears that cripple so many people and reap the many benefits of public speaking?
How can you finally become the confident, charismatic public speaker you’ve always wanted to be?
If you want to tackle the art of public speaking, this guide is for you. We’ll cover how public speaking can help your career and how you can become a great public speaker, so you can start using this rewarding experience to grow personally and professionally, bringing more clients to your business in the process.
How Public Speaking Can Help Your Freelance or Consulting Business
One of the most common challenges freelancers and consultants face instability in workflow. There are weeks in which you’ve got more business than you can handle. Things are going great! The sun is shining, and everything is awesome.
Then there are weeks where your main task is to reload your email inbox, hoping to get a new email from a lead. That’s when you realize you need to ramp up your marketing to get a more consistent pipeline of new leads, and stop this emotional rollercoaster.
When you think about marketing tactics, you think about SEO, paid ads, and content marketing. But why not public speaking?
Think about it. When you give a public speech, you’re immediately seen as an authority, a crucial trait for any consultancy. Not only that, you have the full attention of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of potential leads, often for long stretches of time. You can’t say the same for most online marketing tactics.
What’s more, you get to connect with a large range of business people, many of whom represent untapped growth opportunities for your business. Public speaking, it turns out, is one of the best tactics for growing a freelance or consulting business.
Sure, it won’t be a quick or easy tactic. As you will see, fear of public speaking and a lack of understanding of how to present information to an audience can stop many people from even trying it. But if you learn to overcome such fears and develop your speaking skills, you’ll grow your business in ways you’d have never expected.
How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking
Fear of public speaking is one of the most commonly held phobias. There are many reasons for this, but the fact of the matter is, speaking in public is just scary. What if people don’t like your talk? What if they don’t like you? What if you freeze? What if you panic? What if you say something wrong? What if…?
I believe that underlying our fear of public speaking is actually the fear of failure. Sure, the logistics of talking on stage are intimidating, but really, we’re afraid of doing a bad job and of people thinking poorly of us as a result.
To overcome this, here are three tips you can use:
1. Accept the Fear
Let’s be honest with ourselves. You will feel fear. We all do. Humans are predisposed to fear of being ridiculed, and speaking in public increases your social vulnerability in an extreme way. Your mind doesn’t like it when you’re vulnerable, so it panics. Get the hell out of there! It screams at you.
Even if you have the most beautiful presentation, or you’re unveiling Nobel Prize-worthy research, or you are as engaging as Kevin Hart doing a standup routine, you will always feel butterflies in your stomach before a talk.
Whatever solutions you use to lower that fear—counseling, coaching, meditation, or even medication—you will always feel some fear before giving a talk. Accept it.
The key, as Franklin D. Roosevelt said, is to remember that “courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”
Better yet, you can switch the frame, just like comedian Tracy Morgan does: