For some, public speaking can create discomfort. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, fear of public speaking is ranked as one of the top ten social phobias landing it on the same list as fear of death. I’m lucky. Five months into my Rainmakers Toastmasters membership, I discovered that any discomfort I experience when speaking publically has more to do with preconceived notions about public speaking rather than general abject fear (I am, however, terrified of spiders).
Here are three myths that hold you back from giving your best speech.
Myth #1 Natural talent outshines preparation. When you listen to an engaging speaker, it’s tempting to believe that the speaker is naturally talented and, therefore, improvising. They sound so good you decide there’s no way you can replicate the process. Thinking this way is a form of self-intimidation. While there are many naturally gifted speakers, everyone has to take time to prepare so that elements like speech length and objective are not left to chance.
Myth #2 It’s all about you. Actually, no, it’s not. Speakers who lack confidence are often their own worst critics. Focusing solely on what you do wrong makes it harder to focus on what you do right. If you think about it, you’re there to deliver good content to your audience. They expect it. Focus on how to get valuable information to your listeners because it’s really about them. Think of how you can help your listeners benefit from what you have to offer.
Myth #3 I’m terrified and that means I shouldn’t speak. While fear may be your first response to making a speech, it doesn’t mean that you can’t eventually get comfortable with presenting to a group. Public speaking is a learned skill. Learn how to create a great speech and seek out opportunities to practice speaking in public. With time, your fear will become manageable.
Rainmakers Toastmaster Meetings are structured to help members learn how to create and deliver prepared speeches as well as develop leadership skills. Every meeting provides multiple opportunities to practice public speaking in a positive and supportive environment. If you are want to learn how to be a better speaker, consider attending the next Rainmakers Toastmasters. We meet every Wednesday from 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. at Sandler Training Trustpointe.