Public speaking is becoming a very effective marketing strategy especially for business women. Given their ability to build authentic relationships, what better place to start than speaking to a lot of strangers? Yet, the feat of public speaking as well as speaking over all that other chatter continues to be an obstacle for many women in business. Understanding the origin of this fear and how to strengthen your message may help you become a better public speaker.
For years, the common knowledge was the speaking in public was the greatest fear shared by the American public. So if this is true, then where, when and why did this belief of speaking in public originate?
If we look to our earlier educational experiences, we can quickly learn the answer. Did you hesitate in raising your hand to answer a teacher’s question? Did you think more of what others would think of you instead of what you thought about yourself? The desire to be part of the group and wanting to be liked by the group probably started the fear of public speaking.
As we traveled through the educational process, we either learned to speak up and faced the potential of a wrong answer (translated into the group not liking me) or continued to be quiet (know that the group still liked me). Remember, Sally Fields comment about “You really like me” at the Academy Awards?
The fear of public speaking is much more about earlier childhood conditioning than anything else. For we truly want to be liked by others and the F.E.A.R. (false evidence appearing real) guides many of our behaviors.
To eliminate those fears begins by strengthening our own beliefs about who we are. Then putting together a plan of action to reinforce those strengths. This may begin by speaking to local elementary schools talking about what you do. Then working your way up through the other grades and eventually into local organizations such as Rotary or Exchange Clubs.
Using what I call belief statements or what others call positive affirmation statements is one self improvement strategy (planned thought process) and tactic (action). When we continually read the belief that we want to embrace, we can begin to change our habits of thought that actually lead to changes in actions (behaviors).
A belief statement begins with the first person pronoun of “I.” Then uses a present tense verb such as am. Finally, the object of the statement describes the desired result. If the goal is to improve or strengthen public speaking skills, the belief statement may read as follows:
I am a great, captivating, engaging public speaker who leaves the audience learning and laughing.
When this statement is read at least three times each day, morning, afternoon and evening, for 30 days, your results will change. However, given the influence of past conditioning, this belief statement needs to be read for at least 3 to 6 months or until the goal is accomplished.
The second challenge of speaking over all that chatter is much easier. When you speak from the heart and connect your content to personal experiences, your message will quickly rise above others. Remember, that women in business have the advantage of building authentic relationships. When you provide excellent content and make your presentation personal, you will be heard over all that other chatter and successfully begin to build those necessary authentic relationships.