“Whether it’s at work, at a wedding or at a school event, we all need to speak in front of an audience at some point in our lives. No matter how much we may enjoy the fear induced by rollercoasters or Stephen King novels, the particular anxiety of looking out into a sea of faces waiting expectantly for you to speak is one that few of us enjoy. ” – Anwesha Banerjee
Have you been asked to speak and either said no or accepted with fear and trembling? You are not alone. Studies have indicated that fear of public speaking is akin to the fear of dying. However, “we humans routinely and willingly engage in activities that could lead to death — most notably, driving — without thinking twice. Meanwhile, there’s very little chance that public speaking could kill us, or even significantly harm us, …but every time we have to get on stage in front of people, we can almost feel death.”
What steps can you take to help you deal with this fear? One way is through joining Toastmasters. Toastmasters is an organization that helps people begin to deal with these fears by gently moving step by step through the process of speaking beginning with taking on basic roles at a meeting such as Quizmaster, Word of the Week, Joke or Story, or Timer before moving on to the larger roles of Table Topics Master, Toastmaster and General Evaluator. Each of these roles gives an opportunity to speak for a short period of time which allows the butterflies to be coaxed into settling down.
I recently read an article from ideas.ted.com which talked about this very thing – Stage Fright. Neuroscientist Anwesha Banerjee has this suggestion: Why not get used to it?
” our difficulty with speaking in front of a group, she says, has less to do with the fear of speaking itself and more with how we constantly reinforce that fear. We tell ourselves again and again — and tell other people too — that speaking in public is frightening, and that being frightened is to be avoided at all costs. “When we say that to ourselves repeatedly, we engage our brain in a process called negative reinforcement,” says Banerjee. “Negative reinforcement is defined as strengthening of a behavior response by avoiding a negative stimulus. Of course, in this case, the behavior response that we are strengthening is our fear response, and the negative stimulus is getting up on the stage.”
As Banerjee says in this article, the secret to becoming a good or great speaker is to just do it. Show up at a Toastmasters meeting prepared to take on a role. Say yes to speaking opportunities at work or at volunteer organizations. Put your fear behind you and reach out to a Toastmasters group in your area. You can find out more about what is available by going to Toastmasters.org to find a club.
Banerjee has made presenting in public a habit by joining Toastmasters, an international nonprofit that teaches communication and leadership skills, and she has now spoken in front of audiences over 200 times. Their secret to developing great speakers and leaders is to encourage their members to “learn by doing.” This means getting up to talk, even though a voice in their head is telling them to flee. While she still has stage fright — and she admits to feeling it even during her TEDx talk — her brain pays a lot less attention to it and is able to pay more attention to the audience and other aspects of her speech. “The risk is always there; it’s just that our brain gets used to the risk.”
You can read more and watch her Ted talk by going to this page.
When Cassie wanted to start speaking, she was excited. She was looking forward to connecting with her audience but she wasn’t sure where to find those elusive first speaking gigs. A speaker friend recommended she start by doing some of these things…
“Personal and professional connections are the best way to build awareness,” her friend shared. “Let your family, friends, and colleagues know that you’re looking to become a public speaker. They may know of an event host in need right now.” Perhaps a local church might like a speaker for one of their special events, or a community group might be looking for someone different to present to their membership. Check out the Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, Chamber of Commerce, etc..
Put It Out
Now that you want to be a speaker, look at ways you can advertise. Add the word “speaker” to your bio on your website and your social media profiles, such as Linked-In, Instagram and Facebook as well as your blog. If you have particular topics you speak about, be specific. For example, you might say, “I’m a speaker on technical and business topics” or “I speak to Christian women on topics like family health and self-care”.
Start locally. That means you won’t have the stress or expensive of travel. The good news is that you can find local events easily using services like Facebook Events, Meetup and Eventbrite. If you haven’t checked these out, you are missing out. Meetup lists all types of events in your area and you can choose those that fit your specific interests.
Another thing new speakers can do is to look for opportunities to volunteer. Offer to speak to classes, both at schools and colleges. Reach out and share how you believe you can have an impact. Speak to some teachers about what they are teaching and how your skills could be incorporated into their plan.
You may also want to see if your local
libraries or community centers are looking for someone to lead a brief four or
six-week class on a topic you’re passionate about. Showing up weekly is a
wonderful way to build up your speaking experience.
You never know when someone might want to
learn more about your speaking services. So go ahead and create a speaker
sheet. This should be a one-page document that highlights your bio and topics
you speak on. Keep it short and make it attractive. If you don’t have any
design skills, consider creating it in Canva and using one of their
Be ready to share topics with outlines with event hosts when they ask for more information. You may even want to prepare your presentation in PowerPoint so a conference coordinator can take a look if they have questions. Not familiar with PowerPoint? You can take some online training through places like Lynda.com. You can also google “free training in powerpoint”.
Get video of you speaking as soon as possible. Livestreaming online video is a good option if you’ve had no live opportunities yet. You can do this with your phone. You can set it up in your office, or outside. Do what makes sense for your message.
While you should strive to make this video
as nice as possible with good lighting and sound, remember that hosts aren’t
expecting a professional studio look. They know the video won’t be polished to
Event hosts just need to see that you’re
comfortable and engaging. They want to know that you can connect with their
audience and keep them entertained.
Finding speaking gigs might seem like a difficult task at first. But focus on doing the steps above. The more you take risks and put yourself out there, the more likely you are to discover an opportunity that’s just right for you.
To your speaking success
P.S. Learn how to create promotional materials for your speaking career when you download your free workbook!
What if you could boost the visibility of your business? What if you could easily connect with potential clients in person? What if you got clarity around your message and influenced even more people with it?
With the So, You Want to Get Speaking Gigs? Workbook, you’ll discover how speaking benefits your business, what you need to get started, and how you can begin finding speaking events today. Here’s a peek at what you’ll see in your workbook…
The 4 Big Benefits of Becoming a Speaker
Create a Message You’re Proud to Share
Talking Money: What to Expect as a First-Time Speaker
Speaking Gigs Are Right Under Your Nose! Here’s How to Find Them…
Why Every Speaker Needs a Media Page (& What to Put on Yours!)
Kickstart your speaking adventure now! Just sign up below:
Many people wanted to get started speaking, but the more they read about the subject, the more overwhelmed they become. Where to begin looking for speaking gigs? Should I speak for free or ask for a fee?
Maybe you have a desire to speak—but you don’t know what to expect, here are a few things to keep in mind…
for Free Gets You Experience
There are always event coordinators and
conference hosts in need of speakers. Sometimes, these leaders don’t have much
of a budget, so most of the cash goes to feeding attendees and providing paper
goods (like tissue). That doesn’t leave much to pay speaking fees.
However, this can be an advantage if you are a new speaker. There’s less competition to get free speaking gigs and event hosts will be more forgiving if you mess something up. After all, they understand that you’re still finding your way.
Another advantage of speaking for free is
that it builds up your confidence while marketing your business. Most people
don’t become confident speaking until they’ve done it a few dozen times. You
can speed up this growth process by speaking at multiple events in the span of
a few weeks or few months.
for Pay Can Be Exciting
For some, speaking isn’t just a hobby or
something done to grow their business. It’s how they keep food on the table and
afford to clothe their families. Fees can range anywhere from $100-10,000+
depending on many things—the conference budget, your experience level, the
topic you’re presenting on, and the complexity of your talk.
Professional speakers often have multiple income streams like additional products or services. They may sell these items at conferences and events to off-set some of their costs and to grow their bottom line.
for Perks Is Good, Too
Keep in mind that you don’t have to choose
between speaking just for free or profit. Some speakers do it for the perks.
These perks are typically paid for by the event host.
For example, you’ve always wanted to go to
Hawaii and a conference coordinator contacts you. They don’t have the budget to
pay for your speech but they are willing to pay for your hotel costs for three
nights. You get to travel to a dream destination, speak at a big event, and be
a tourist for two days.
Of course, the perks an event host can
offer will differ. Some may be willing to pay for your meals, your flight, or
your hotel stay. It all depends on what their budget is and what you’re willing
to negotiate for.
When you first start speaking, it’s smart
to get your feet wet with free or perks-based events. Then if you find you
enjoy speaking and you’d like to do it more often, consider turning pro and
charging a fee in exchange for your time.
What about you? Are you a beginning speaker or more advanced?
For some great tips on speaking, check out Tom Antion He offers a speaker’s ezine in addition to many helpful speaking tips. I have been a member of his site for almost 20 years and have purchased several of his products.
Daphne loved the idea of speaking. She
wanted to grow her makeup and beauty business but she wasn’t sure how to get
started with speaking. Her mentor told her to focus on first defining her
Every speaker needs a keystone message. But
building this message can be tricky. Where do you start? What do you say? How
much should you talk about yourself? These are important questions and here are
a few answers for you.
Before you can begin crafting a message
that connects with your listeners, you need to get clear on who you serve. Who
is it that you’re passionate about reaching? Who is your product or service
For Daphne, she knew her audience would
mainly be women in their twenties to fifties. But she narrowed it down even
more by choosing to focus on mothers. That means when Daphne started looking
for events where she could speak, she focused on ones that catered to her
community (busy moms).
The next step in defining your message is
focusing on the problems your audience faces. Try to make a list of the top
10-20 problems that your community regularly brings up to you. This may be a
mix of big and small issues.
Daphne’s list included issues her audience
complained about like: dark circles under their eyes, lipstick that didn’t stay
all day, and foundation that appeared cakey or cracked.
Offer the Solutions
Now that you’ve had a chance to consider
what problems plague your community, think about how you can offer them the
solution. Chances are, you’re already offering the solution even if you don’t
Maybe your audience complains about the
lack of information about writing copy for Facebook ads. But you have a free
opt-in report on this topic. You can mention this solution in your
As you offer solutions, be sure to share
proof that what you’re teaching really works. Using the above example, you’d
want to share the story of a woman who earned an extra $10K thanks to following
your copywriting tips.
But keep in mind that results don’t have to
be monetary. Daphne shared a message from a client who found she was more
confident and felt more in charge of her life now that she knew her makeup
Makes You Different
At this point, you’ve got the audience
excited. They know there’s a solution out there for the problem they have. But
how you handle this next part of the process is important. You want to make
sure your listeners see that you’re the solution to their problems. If not,
they may go and do business with one of your competitors.
Daphne pointed out her makeup brand was
different because it wasn’t tested on animals and was entirely vegan,
containing no animal byproducts. This made her stand out in the audience’s mind
and gave them an extra reason to try her business over someone else’s.
As you work through the steps above, you’ll
get many ideas about what you can speak on. Be sure to keep a notebook handy so
you can write down your thoughts and use them as you craft your speech.
Tammy was a copywriting coach who was
looking to grow her business. A friend suggested she give public speaking a try
and encouraged her to experiment with the idea. Tammy was intrigued but she
wanted to know more about speaking and how it could grow her business. Here are
four key benefits of speaking that Tammy’s friend shared…
Speaking = Respect
The wonderful thing about speaking to a
group is that you have the opportunity to meet your audience in person. Meeting
people in person has greater impact than meeting them online.
One of the best benefits from speaking is
the boosted visibility. Not only will the people attending the conference or
event have a chance to see you, so will others even if they never attend.
That’s because the event organizer will have handouts, flyers, and other
promotional material that they share online and offline. So even if someone
doesn’t show up, they may still hear your name and remember you as the expert
from that conference.
Some business owners have made
life-changing contacts by simply getting to know other event leaders, topic
experts, and speakers. If you see someone you might enjoy connecting with,
don’t be afraid to go up and say, “Hello!” You never know where the encounter
Why Communication Is Today’s Most Important Life Skill
Communication skills have always been and will continue to be the most important life skill. Possessing excellent communication skills can help take you far in both your career and your personal life. Many make the fatal mistake of thinking this skill is not important due to the advancement of technology, however, it’s even more important as we also need these skills to communicate electronically and learn.
Being able to speak clearly in a way that you are understood and listened to is an important skill to hone and possess. You can work at and perfect it, just like any other skill, but you have to put the work in. In this article, we’re going to explain just why we think communication is the most important life skill to possess today.
Good Communication Skills Can Improve Your Social Life It should be obvious that being a good communicator will help to improve your social life. It can help you with loved ones, from friends to significant others to family members. When you possess good communication skills, you also tend to possess good listening skills, as the two go hand and hand.
If you have excellent communication skills, you will probably have fewer disagreements, drama, and fights. With excellent communication skills, you’re better prepared to communicate your feelings in a clear and concise way without hurting the other person’s feelings. You’ll be more able to get to the source of your problems instead of letting them linger or spiral out of control.
Good Communication Skills Improve Your Professional Life Possessing excellent communication skills is a key trait of successful people. Those who possess the skills and qualities of leadership also possess good communication skills. Leaders have to be able to communicate clearly what it is they need done and how they need it to be done. I have a friend who says that his business improved greatly once he learned good communication skills at Toastmasters.
Those in a leadership position at work are responsible for guiding, informing, and managing their staff. They have to be able to communicate correctly and kindly what they need to do, how they need things done and make corrections when necessary. It takes excellent communication skills to get the job done right.
Good Communication Skills Make You a Better Person Excellent communication skills help you to be a better listener and therefore have fewer fights because you’re better prepared to easily resolve the issues. This does not mean that you don’t have disagreements. What it means is that you learn ways to discuss difficult things in a calm and effective manner. You learn to listen to what the other person has to say without interrupting in order to understand their point of view. This improves your friendships and relationships, making them stronger and longer-lasting. Being able to sort through your problems, feelings, and disagreements can help you to develop stronger, more durable relationships
Communication skills have always been important as it is how we work through problems, discuss issues, and get things done. With the increase of electronic communication, people tend to disregard and neglect their communication skills, but the truth is that you need those same skills to succeed in electronic communication as you do in-person communication. Sometimes even more since the person on the other end can not see your body language – whether or not you are smiling, joking, or very serious and they will interpret your message based on their feelings at the time they read it.
While it can be difficult to practice your communication, in an effort to improve those skills, the work is well worth it. You will find that good communication skills will improve your relationships, your career, and your life. Honing your communication skills can do a lot to improve your life and make you a better person.
Remember the better you are at communicating, the better a person you become. You listen more and you don’t hold on to bad feelings, you communicate them and do it well. Good communication skills are essential to being a good friend, employee, leader, and a better person all around.
To developing your communication skills and your life.
Jasmine often called herself unattractive names. Sometimes, she did it when she was with friends and making self-deprecating jokes. But other times, she did it when she was angry and wanted to express her disappointment in herself or her behavior.
Tracy, a good friend, finally called Jasmine out on this habit. She said, “I don’t know if you’re aware of the way you speak about yourself but spoken words have more power than you realize. What you speak, you live out.”
Like Jasmine, you may not realize it, but your words do affect every area of your life and they can impact you for years to come.
Your Words Affect Your Confidence
When she was feeling good about herself, Jasmine used encouraging words to describe herself. She focused on self-care and body love when she had a victory moment like mastering a complex line of code for her website or getting a big project done on time.
But those moments were rare. Most of the time, Jasmine nit-picked what she did and constantly looked for flaws in herself and in her work. As a result, these negative words affected her confidence and she often found herself feeling ashamed and wanting to hide.
Your Words Impact Your Attitude
How you approach a big project or tackle a difficult conversation can be impacted by the words you use beforehand. For example, if you say that you’re headed back to the salt mines before you go to work on your novel, you’re going to associate the task with boredom and drudgery.
But if you say that you’re off to work on the exciting adventure that is your novel, you’re more likely to approach your writing session with energy and enthusiasm.This doesn’t mean that everything you create during that session will be gold. However, you’re more likely to be happy with your work and enjoy the process if you approach it with the right attitude.
Your Words Create Your Level of Success
Michelle was going back to school to become a nurse. She wanted to earn high marks in all her classes. But she often found herself saying things like, “I’m not smart enough to handle the workload” or “I don’t have the brains in the family”.
The words you speak dictate your level of success—whether in your work, your relationships, or your hobbies. You can only go as far as you believe is possible in life and in business.
Your Words Can Heal Your Self-Image
Patricia grew up with parents who were in and out of prison. She was frequently placed in foster homes where she was abused, starved, and unloved. When Patricia got older, she viewed herself as broken and worthless.
But a wise mentor encouraged her to look at herself differently. He said, “The beautiful thing about a mosaic is that what’s broken can be made whole with some creativity and imagination.” The Japanese art of kintsugi teaches that broken objects are not something to hide. Kintsugi (“golden joinery”), is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum to make them more beautiful.
As Patricia slowly began to change the way she spoke about herself, she no longer used the word broken, choosing instead to say that she was a work in progress, a masterpiece not yet complete. The more she began to speak these words, the more she found healing and wholeness.
Your Words Create Habits
As Michelle, the aspiring nurse, learned
more about how her words affected her, she started paying attention to the ones
she had around her habits. For example, she tended to say things that include:
I always overeat.
I can’t be on time to save my life.
I never make it to the gym.
Since she was challenging herself to create
new habits, she decided to play with the words she used.
When she found herself saying one of the
three sentences above, she replaced it with a different one like…
I’m learning self-control when
it comes to portions.
I’m working to leave the house
10 minutes early.
I make the gym a priority.
The more she focused on changing her words, the more they came to life. Pretty soon, Michelle had a host of new, healthy habits that were fueling her body so she could reach her goal of becoming a nurse.
Your Words Produce Peace & Calm
words have a profound effect on your emotional state, too. Using certain words
can alter your perception of events. For
example, you could say, “I’m furious that my food is cold.”
With this statement, you’re focusing on a
strong emotion (fury) over a minor problem that doesn’t fully deserve this
reaction. But what would happen if you changed your words? You could say, “I’m
annoyed that my food is cold.”
The verbs you choose determine your emotions. If you choose mild words, you’re less likely to blow up over something seemingly small (like cold food).
Your Words Give You Space to Grow
It’s way too easy to talk about yourself in absolutes that don’t leave you open to new possibilities. For example, when Angel was struggling to grow her business, she often said, “I’ll never hit six-figures and be successful like my friends.” Have you ever used the words “never” or “always” when talking about your life?
The business coach she hired challenged Angel on her use of the word never. “Never is a long time. Are you sure you want to apply that word to your situation?”
Negative absolutes (like never and always) can leave you feeling trapped and defeated when you use them. If you find yourself saying them a lot, pause and ask yourself. “Is this a statement that I want to be true about my life or business?”
If you truly want to grow into your best self, you must be willing to give up the mindsets that hold you back. That means making friends with your inner trickster (also known as ego). Thank her for her input then suggest that she sit down quietly because you have work to do. After changing her mindset and the way she talked to herself, Angel achieved her six-figure goal.
Your Words Determine the Results You Get
Your words create your reality. They also determine the results you get. If you go to take a test in one of your college courses and you say you’ll fail, chances are high that you will. It doesn’t matter that you spent all night studying or that you know the material backwards and forwards.
Your mind is incredibly powerful. It manifests what you say, regardless of whether what you said was positive or negative. This means you will always experience the outcomes you predict, even when they’re painful.
However, there is some good news. You can change the results you get and the experiences you have by changing your words. If you approach the next test with confidence and the same dedication, you’re likely to ace it. Why? Because you believed it was possible, so your mind went to work manifesting it.
Your words are your most powerful resource. They can be a weapon you use to hurt yourself and cut down your potential. Or they can be an amazing tool you can use to harness to create more of what you want in your life and business.
How will you use your words? Dropping negative self-talk can change your life.
P.S. What if you discovered that you could change your life by simply changing your words? What if you became ruthless about removing words from your speech that were holding you back from accomplishing your deepest dreams? What if you stepped into your destiny by choosing to embrace words with positive energy?
With the 7 Words to Ban for a Better
Mindset workbook, you’ll discover the words that are keeping you from success,
what to do about them, and how to harness positive energy to create your best
life. Here’s a peek at what you’ll see in your workbook…
Erase Can’t from Your
Why Busy Is a Dangerous Word
Stop Looking for Life to Be
Get Off Your But & Change
No More Shoulds!
Abandon the Crutch of Always
Believe in the Possible
Create a Life You Love
Embrace the power of words today! Just sign
Dreams are not enough. Dreaming will not get us anywhere if we don’t take action on our dreams. Each and every day we need to do at least one thing that will move us forward.
I hear you saying, but “I don’t have the time
to do anything” or “I’m so busy there aren’t enough hours in the day to do what
I need to do.” But there are some things
that take only a few minutes that can help move you forward.
Did you know that wasting 15 minutes a day works out to 91
hours per year? What could you do with
those 91 hours?
If we read
an average of 12 pages a day (about 15 minutes) we could read 17-18 books per
We can learn
a new task, become an expert in our field of study, or upgrade our education.
exercise and stay in shape while tuning up our heart. 15 minutes 3 times a week will maintain a
spend the time in personal meditation or spiritual contemplation to bring
balance to our lives.
devote 15 minutes of quality time to someone we care about. We could choose a different person each
day. We could write a letter, send a card,
make a phone call or a personal visit.
We could sit down with someone and ask them a question and really listen
to their answer.
Your time should always be
spent doing things that help you achieve your goals and bring fulfillment to
your life. Plan your days and determine how you will use your time most
productively to accomplish your goals.
The next time you have 10 to 15 minutes, is
there a phone call you can make or a letter you can send? Can you write one page of your novel or your
blog? Is there a mailing list you can
sign up for that will provide you with information you need? Time to read five
pages of a book on your subject matter? Can you sign up to volunteer for an
organization in your dream field? You
will be amazed at what you can accomplish in 15 minutes.
Time is a unique resource.
Day to day, everyone has the same amount. It cannot be accumulated. You can’t turn it on or off. It can’t be replaced. It has to be spent at the rate of sixty
seconds every minute, sixty minutes every hour.
Time management, like the management of other resources,
benefits from analysis and planning. It
is a personal process and must fit your style and circumstances.
It takes a strong commitment to change old habits; however
you do have a choice. You can learn how
to better use your time to accomplish the things you want to do.
Drop me a line with your email address and I will send you some more Time Management Tips to help you reach your goals sooner.
To spending your time wisely
P.S. Leave me a comment if you would like a copy of my Time Management Tips
For years one of my fellow Toastmasters, by the name of
Fred Schuck has been insistent that we need to “seek first to understand” the
people we meet and interact with. On September 11th, yesterday, my
daily reading included this from Stephen R. Covey’s “Daily Reflections For
Highly Effective People”.
“Seek first to understand involves a very deep shift in
paradigm. We typically seek first to be
understood. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen
with the intent to reply.”
How many times do we run into trouble with others because
we view them from our experiences, our understanding, instead of taking the
time to know them and their views better.
Have you ever walked away from an argument or discussion saying, “That
person just doesn’t understand”? When
you think back on that moment now, did you really take the time to listen to
that person to find out more about them so that you could understand where they
are coming from. I know that I have been
guilty of this.
Yesterday many of us reflected on events that happened 18
years ago which changed the world as we know it. We asked questions that we could not answer. We sought answers to things we did not
understand. At that time, and since
then, we accused innocent people of things they didn’t do because they belonged
to a particular race of people.
It is time to stop. It is time to seek to understand, to learn, to grow, to become more. It doesn’t mean that we will agree. It doesn’t even mean that things will immediately change when we do this. But it’s a start. And it begins with you…and me. In a song I heard recently the words go something like this –“if not us then who, if not me and you. If not now, then when will it ever end”
To better understanding of those we live with and work with and meet today.
Have you been told this before? What does it mean? How are you supposed to get to know your audience when you are speaking at a new venue? An article in The American Society of Engineers says the following:
“To connect with your audience, you need to understand why your topic is important to them. What do they expect to learn from the presentation? Don’t assume the audience is like you. They may have cultural or geographic biases and the more you understand them, the better you can express yourself to them and avoid speaking gaffes. It is also important to know the level of knowledge they have about your topic, so you can present the information with the correct tone to keep people interested and engaged.
Whether you are presenting to a small group of 20 or a large group of 200, there are many things you can to do in advance to ensure that your presentation achieves the desired response. The most important is to know and understand your audience as well as the venue logistics.”
There are several things you can do to prepare and research your audience before and at the beginning of the talk that will help you adjust your speech to better engage the audience. The first thing is to Research. Call the person who booked you and ask questions about the audience. What do they hope to gain, who are some of the main people you should get to know.
Then Greet them at the door – get there early and say hello to everyone who walks through the door. If you have a little bit of time, ask them some questions about why they came, what they hope to learn.
You can also check out Toastmasters (as recommended in the article) by going to www.toastmasters.org and clicking on “find a club” to find a club near you. You can also find many good articles on public speaking at that link.
The more you know about your audience, the better you can tailor your speech to their wants and needs.