Fear of Public Speaking? 5 Ways to Strengthen your Message and Speak with Confidence

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By: Stacey Ann Berry, Author, Consultant and Speaker, Bstellar Consulting Group

Speaking with confidence means being conscious of the narrative you portray in social or professional settings and online. It also means accepting who you are, while embracing your strengths and weaknesses.  Strong skills in public speaking will make you stand out in a competitive marketplace —by leaving a lasting impression. Mastering the art of delivering your message, whether verbal, written or art form, communicates who you are and what you do in the world.

If you are an entrepreneur, it is vital that you communicate what you do effectively and clearly. Yet, public speaking is the most common phobia. Known as “glassophobia,” people fear public speaking more than death, darkness, spiders, and heights. (Newcomer, 2017) It is natural to feel nervous, anxious or experience butterflies in your stomach before delivering a speech, but this should not deter you from sharing your message with the world.

A lack of strong skills in public speaking can cause your message to get lost, lead to missed opportunities and limit your career trajectory. It can also minimize your level of influence in your community and negatively affect your business growth. When you improve your public speaking skills, it prepares you to lead teams, participate in pitch competitions, sell your products or services, and deliver presentations with confidence.

I used to avoid making speeches in formal settings. However, after years of practice, I developed tools and strategies that helped me build my confidence and empowered me to share my message with the world. I now regularly deliver speeches to audiences that range from 20 to 500 people.

Here are 5 ways you can strengthen your message and speak with confidence:

1. Use affirmations

Repeating words of affirmation is a great way to build your confidence. This means to make a personal declaration in the present tense as if it were true.  Always use “I AM.” For example, “I am a public speaker who is confident” If you want to be a great public speaker, say affirmations out loud and repeat them daily.  It is easy to allow fear of failure and feelings of inadequacy to prevent you from speaking in public. Turn your negative thoughts into positive ones, and write down the type of speaker you want to be.  The more you believe in yourself and your abilities, the better you will become at speaking in public. Speaking has to do with your mindset.  As Henry Ford once said “if you think you can do a thing or you think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” Embrace your fear of public speaking.  Affirmations are a great first step towards building your confidence and will propel you towards becoming a fearless public speaker.

2. Stick to your script

Avoid going off message by including unnecessary personal stories. This can cause you to exceed your allotted speaking time and make it difficult for you to maintain the attention of your audience. It also drags out your message. Keep your speech concise and impactful. Be intentional about who you are and where you are going with your message. Be clear about why you are speaking. Are you speaking to inform, inspire, motivate, persuade or entertain? While it is helpful to write out your message in general bullet points to ensure you do not forget to mention key aspects of your message, avoid reading your speech word for word. Think of three to four key lessons or tips you want to share and memorize them. If you want to use a personal story, make sure it is appropriate for your audience demographic and aligns with your topic. Sticking to your script will make your message sound sharp, clear and memorable.

3. Practice

Practice is the best way to hone your skills. The more you practice speaking, the better you will become. Practice off the cuff or impromptu speaking during special occasions like weddings, birthday parties or informal social events. If you have a speaking engagement coming up, start by writing your speech down and reading it aloud repeatedly. Then try condensing your speech into headings for each section. Include three to four bullets points per section. Rehearse your speech out loud again. Ask for feedback from friends or family. Record yourself speaking, and then listen to the audio only. Make note of your tone, the sound quality of your voice, your enunciation and pronunciation, as well as your speed, pitch, and volume. Do you use distracting fillers like um and uh? Practicing your speech will prepare you to speak with authority and confidence.

4. Know your body language

Communication is 70% body language. Your audience will not remember every word you say, but your body language will let them know if you are authentic and believe in what you are saying. Make a video recording of yourself speaking, and observe your hand gestures, posture, eyes, and foot movement. Always remember to look people in the eye. It demonstrates your confidence, competence, and authority. It is also important to observe your facial expressions since it reveals your emotions and should match the content of your message. When you are aware of your body language, you can identify several ways you can strengthen your message and enhance how you communicate.

5. Do your research

Read articles and watch videos on public speaking. Online magazines such as Inc. and Entrepreneur are great sources of reading material, and Richard Branson has published some very helpful videos on public speaking. You can find a number of other experts on public speaking on YouTube. Start to observe motivational speakers, TED Talk speakers, and commencement speeches. It is also a good idea to watch political debates, campaign victory speeches, as well as, commentary on good and bad speeches.  Researching experts in public speaking will open your mind to different perspectives and provide you with insights from experts, which will help you improve your skills in public speaking.

As you can see from the suggestions above, there are many ways to improve your public speaking skills. Your voice is a powerful tool. Take the time to invest in it by attending webinars, workshops, or by reading books and articles on public speaking. It doesn’t matter if you are a business owner or employee—public speaking is essential for marketing your skills, services or products. Great public speakers have used their voice to be influential and raise awareness about social concerns.

Have the courage to speak up and develop the confidence to use your voice. The world is waiting to hear your message.  

Recommended articles and videos:

●     “20 Tips for Mastering the Art of Public Speaking"- Brent Gleeson  

●     “How the World's Best Public Speakers Find an Authentic Voice” -Todd Henry

●     ”Richard Branson hates public speaking -- heres how he gets over it

●     10 Ways to Use Body Language to Get What You Want"- Janine Diver

●     The Power of Nonverbal Communications" Joe Navarro

 

Reference:

Newcomer, L. (2017, Febuary 10). Retrieved from Quill Blog: https://www.quill.com/blog/careers-advice/public-speaking-is-scary-heres-how-to-get-over-your-fear.html

 

 

Stand Out From The Crowd Through Empathetic Marketing

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"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."- Mya Angelou

According to Dr. Mark Ingwer, the author of  Empathetic Marketing, understanding consumers core emotional needs will help you grow your business and develop loyal customers.  Empathetic marketing means to make your clients feel like they are worth more than a dollar sign. It also means you are willing to go the extra mile, even when it is not necessary.  If you want to become an empathetic marketer, it requires you to demonstrate your ability to build an emotional connection with your clients and show them that you care. As a result, your clients will feel like you value them as individuals, as well as, the relationship you developed with them.

Gary Vaynerchuk has a powerful story about empathetic marketing, which inspired me to write this article.  For Gary, "the best marketing strategy" is to care.  Gary shared a story about how it took him 2.5hrs, during a snowstorm, to deliver a package for a customer that was worth $45.00 while his company was making about $40,000 an hour.  Although the customer did not express appreciation for his extra efforts, this experience helped his company establish its competitive edge.  According to Gary,  “when you give more than you take you have leverage for life”.  When you invest so much in others, you can expect to get more than what you want when you need it.  In business you will get what you put in.  Sowing good seeds as an entrepreneur, will eventually bring you dividends. 

Be willing to go the extra mile even whether or not you will receive a return on your investment.  Do the right thing when no one is watching.  Be kind when it is difficult.  This is how you build a solid reputation for your business and strengthen your brand.   When your clients know that you care, they are usually eager to do repeat business with you or will recommend new clients. 

My beloved and late mother, who passed away in 2016, was the queen of empathetic marketing.  She truly understood the power of investing in people. As an innate nurturer with a heart of gold, who was the CEO of a tutoring business, she consistently showered her clients with advice, compassion and empathy.  As a result, her business grew based on referrals, not traditional marketing or advertising.  She also produced excellent results for her clients and built a solid reputation.  My mother had a loyal clientele that most entrepreneurs crave.

In a society where there are so many people who care about themselves and how they can use others to get ahead, it is very refreshing to find an entrepreneur whose mission is to help others with no expectations of making a sale. People love to feel validated and appreciated. When your clients know you appreciate them, you will certainly generate repeat business.  A great product or service speaks volumes, whether or not the person behind it has empathy, but entrepreneurs with big hearts are trend setters and legacy makers! 

People are inspired by business leaders who are courageous and compassionate.  The world is waiting for entrepreneurs who have "heart" and are not caught up in solely making profits.  The most successful entrepreneurs solve a problem, fill a void in the market place or produce a product that everyday people need.   

Empathetic marketing has to be done with balance. It is important to be mindful of people who do not value your business or respect your worth. This can make you vulnerable to those who will consciously or unconsciously take advantage of you. Protect your brand and be selective about who you do business with.  If you view kindness as a strength and not a weakness,  you will keep pushing forward in spite of a bad client or business deal that went wrong.  Mistakes and bad experiences are unavoidable but if you are determined to grow your business, you will overcome common challenges that many entrepreneurs are bound to face.

As long as you maintain a strong work ethic, commit to integrity, compassion and consistency,  people will be eager to do business with you.  When your product or service is high quality and you have the right business systems in place, making a profit is inevitable! If you desire to make a difference or leave a legacy, consider using empathetic marketing.

By: Stacey Berry , Founder Bstellar Consulting Group

Twitter and Instagram @bstellargroup

The Art Of Team Building

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Many people will agree, it is fun to collaborate with those who are easy to get along with.  What about collaborating with difficult people?  Your ability to get along with difficult people is essential for your success in business. You cannot avoid it.  You are bound to come across clients, co-workers or employees who are challenging. This could include people who do one or all of the following:

  • Underestimate your intellectual ability

  • Insult you or take advantage of your skills

  • Spread false information about you and your company

  • Refuse to pay for services you provide

  • Steal your intellectual property

  • Test your character;  The list goes on!

How you chose to respond to these types of people will either help or hurt your business. It will either strengthen or weaken your relationship with them.  You should not allow difficult people prevent you from doing your best.  Find ways to work with difficult people with the foal of building a team based on their skills they bring to the table. In order to expand your business or advance in a company that you work for, you will need the skills of those who are easy to get along with and those who are difficult people. Let wisdom be your guide and take the high road.  This is a great way to show your level of maturity.

Surround yourself with people who respect you and value your business.  There will be those who try to destroy your business but it will be very difficult if you put the right safe guards in place.  Be selective with you who put on your core team.  Select loyal people who truly have you and your company’s best interest at heart.  Select people who have a strong track record of helping other entrepreneurs grow their business or advance in their career.

Seek help from creditable entrepreneurs and assess who is on your team. Make referrals to entrepreneurs who produce high quality work and are reliable.  A bad referral will reflect badly on your business and make you appear untrustworthy.  

Give more than you take by sharing ideas and resources with others. Be mindful of those who only take and give nothing in return.  Focus on what you can bring to the table and show how you can add value to others.  Avoid taking anything personal  and hold no heart feelings.  Expect mistakes to happen but be quick to let it go and move on.

Build relationships by connecting people the right people together is a key part of being a team builder.  Team builders are great at connecting the dots. They are knowledgeable in specific subjects and enjoy sharing knowledge with others.  The ability to understand how different dots connect or work together, requires bringing the right people with the right knowledge or skill set to the table.

Collaboration is an essential component of team building.  For example, when I planned a health conference for one of my clients, my focus was to bring together a wide spectrum of professionals, such as, doctors, nutritionists, skin care specialist and other health groups.  Our common goal was to raise awareness about the factors that contribute to breast cancer and explore ways to minimize the risks.  

Some people avoid collaborating with others because they fear their ideas will be duplicated or stolen.  Fear of collaboration will block you from growing as an entrepreneur or professional.  Each person has their own DNA, perspectives and ideas that can add value to what you do.  Once you improve your collaboration skills you will become a stronger team builder.   

Many entrepreneurs work in silos with no support systems in place.  This can be frustrating and lonely.  There is no need to try to do to all alone.  This will make it hard for you to become sustainable and profitable. Connect to support groups for entrepreneurs like Hub Inc or Toronto Business Enterprise.   

When you work with others and build strong alliances, you will expand your client base, marketability, and strengthen your credibility.  

Remember there is no "I" in TEAM  As the saying goes “Together Everyone Achieves More.”  If you desire to leave your mark on this world, master the art of effective team building.

By Stacey Berry, Founder of Bstellar Consulting Group

Twitter and Instagram @bstellargroup