Congratulations, you just started your own business! It’s a big step for you—or for anybody. Many people dream of having their own business and rightfully so. The benefits of being self-employed are plentiful. You get to be your own boss. You might earn more money than those with regular jobs. You can vacation whenever you want, without having to put in a request form. Best of all, you don’t have the drama of co-workers.
Now that you’ve begun, how do people know you exist?
Business owners promote themselves easily online. They use SEO, blogging, email marketing, and social media. Or they simply hand out business cards at networking meetings. But there’s a major source of advertising business owners tend to shy away from—speaking in front of an audience.
Experts estimate as much as 77 percent of the population have anxiety when it comes to speaking in front of an audience.
Are you one of them? Don’t worry. I’m here to encourage you to get over your apprehension. You have to. Speaking in front of a small or large audience will do wonders for your business.
3 Tips on Public Speaking
You may wonder, where does fear come from? Fear comes from ego. People fear because they don’t want to fail. But in order to have a break-through, you must set yourself up for failure; it’s part of your journey as a business owner. Don’t look at it as “failing”, look at it as “learning.” Not every presentation is going to be the best. Sometimes you’ll knock it out of the park and other times you may not be on your top game. That’s just the way it goes for everyone.
Once you made up your mind that you will go for it, here are the top three tips that helped me score more speaking engagements, more ghost writing contracts, and sell more books.
1) Memorize Your Speech.
Early in my speaking career, I’d come to an event with a 10-page typed speech. While I had a good speaking voice, clear enunciation, and a varied pitch, I was not connecting with my audience because I was too concerned with what was on the paper in front of me. When I joined Toastmasters, I had to memorize my speech. I panicked. What if I forget something important? The trick is, arrange the speech with three key points. That will not only take you from point A to point B, but you can improvise too. When you learn to know your audience, you’ll be a natural incorporating humor and life experiences into the fundamental portions of your talk.
I have a lecture called “Going Going Gone” which is basically a walk down memory lane for senior citizens in assisted living facilities. I talk about things that no longer exist like phone booths or television sets with antennas. There’s a portion of the lecture where I talk about dating back then versus today. Seniors can’t understand young people meeting online. So, I tell my audience, “I met my husband the old-fashioned way.” I pause. Then add, “In a bar.” This makes the audience laugh every time. It’s memorized, but comes off as natural because of the deliverance, which will come easy as a result of memorizing. You see how it all goes hand-in-hand?
2) Be Vulnerable.
Two years ago, I had a book published called I Don’t Want to Be Like You. It was about my experiences being bullied in grade school and high school. It was also the first time I came out to the public that I was bullied. When I reached adulthood I never told anyone I was bullied because I was ashamed of my past. I really believed I was a loser and deserved to be bullied. It wasn’t until much soul-searching and researching that I realized being bullied is nothing to be humiliated about. Sharing my story with people of all ages, from very young to very old, in front of an audience and in Zoom classes, made an impact. I was shocked how many people told me they were bullied too and how my talk helped them. They now had someone to connect with and lined up in droves to buy my book.
3) Be Funny
Being funny is closely associated with being vulnerable. You’re letting down your guard and that’s a good thing. As I mentioned earlier, the very first time I spoke at Toastmasters without the security blanket of notes in front of me, I was terrified. I got up in front of my audience and declared, “I am nervous.” I paused, then added, “Alexa, do this speech for me!” The audience laughed hysterically and that broke the ice. I was no longer afraid, but excited to begin.
While my career may be very different than yours, there is no denying that these simple tips can help captivate your audience, thus generating more business for you.
What tips do you have on public speaking? Let us know down in the comments.
This article originally published on GREY Journal.