A month ago I faced one of my greatest fears.
A friend approached me several months prior asking if I’d be willing to speak to a group of young ladies about something that would help and inspire them.
I have a podcast where I do that every week, so without even thinking I agreed to do it.
About a month after she asked me to speak to these young women I started panicking about speaking in public.
I’m an introvert.
Introversion doesn’t mean a person is shy, but I am shy.
I speak into a mic every week and interview entrepreneurs occasionally. Many that I’m meeting for the first time during that phone call, and I’m okay with that. But it took me several months to build up the confidence to interview these women.
If you compare my beginning interviews to the ones I do now, you’ll notice the difference in my confidence levels.
Public speaking was a whole different thing.
I hadn’t spoken in front of a group since my 5th-grade awards where I was the mistress of ceremonies.
I took a speech class in high school, and I gave oral presentations in class, but it’s completely different to get up and talk in front of your peers that you know than to speak in front of total strangers.
I was freaking out.
But I knew I couldn’t back down because I’d already agreed to speak and didn’t want to go back on my word.
It’s so important for me to be able to reach young women.
I want to inspire women, no matter your background. I want to let you know that you can do amazing things. You can change the world. Your dreams are attainable.
I knew I had to do this.
So I decided to start writing my speech.
Then I realized, I have no idea what I’m doing! So I turned to my followers on Instagram for help. I got some incredible advice on effective public speaking that helped me put together and deliver my first speech in front of an audience.
Here are 8 effective public speaking tips for entrepreneurs
Connect with your audience through storytelling. Tell them a story relating to your subject matter to connect with them. It will make your approach personable. – Stephanie Rubio, SoVerve Marketing Group.
Immediately ask engaging questions with a call to action. ”How many of you have been to a networking event that has immediately generated new business for you? Raise your hand.” “Okay, hands down. Thank you.” “How many of you have been to a networking event that has not generated new business for you? Raise your hand.” “Okay, hands down. Thank you.” “What if I could show you a way to generate new business from every event you attend? How many of you would be interested in that information? Raise your hand.” “Today, I’m going to share with you exactly how I do that. So get your pen and paper ready because I have a lot of valuable notes to share with you.” This technique immediately engages the audience and helps them to prepare for what to expect from your time together. – Sean Dillon speaks on entrepreneurial action and is the CEO of Cyentist, Inc., a Manhattan-based digital agency.
Never speak to IMPRESS, speak to EXPRESS. – Nitesh Gianchandani
Everyone is nervous, but nobody knows. Play confident until you are confident. One day the nervous energy turns into simply energy. Bonny Morlak, Tiltsta
Try to connect with as many people as possible before the beginning of the program. Having people you know in the room makes it feel much more comfortable. – Abra Annes, Generosity Auctions
Your audience cares about your message, not your PowerPoint. Focus on connection over content. Brian Olds, Black Speakers Network
When speaking publicly enunciate your words. Don’t fumble over what you’re trying to say. Confidence is key. – Tye Harris
Connect, connect & connect. Before anything you need people to open their attention emotionally to what you are going to say. So you need to start with something that helps you to bring your audience attention to your speech. It might be a short story, a reflection, a question for them to think, even a short exercise. – Ruly Piñate, Vive Scrapbook
These tips I received on effective public speaking were incredible! Most of these things I hadn’t even thought of since it’s entirely different to speak in front of a live audience than it is to talk into a microphone and put out a recording.
When it came time to deliver my speech, I was so nervous. I fumbled over words. I don’t think I did that well. But I did it and next time I’ll do better.
I had a few people come up to me afterward and ask me questions as well as ask for my business card, so I did something right.
I had to stop being so hard on myself for not delivering a speech like a veteran speaker because I’m not one (yet.)
If you’re speaking in public for the first time, I hope you find this advice on effective public speaking helpful because it was invaluable to me.
I do have to add my advice to the list, and that is:
It’s not going to be perfect. It’s not going to sound like someone else. You’re you, and you have a unique message and gift that you need to share with the world. Be you, embrace your imperfections, and take notes on how your next speaking engagement will be better than the previous one.