Adam and Eve in public speaking

Much to be said about speaking in public, fear number 1 for a considerable amount of people in their professional lives.

When you move up on the hierarchical ladder in your organisation (or in your sports club), you will need to talk and interact with groups of stakeholders more often. Public speaking can become a career boosting point, or a career limiting point.

Here’s what Seth Godin says about the topic:

You are not being judged, the value of what you are bringing to the audience is being judged’.

I think that’s certainly part of the truth.

Yet making an excellent impression starts with how you interact with your audience, even before you climb that stage.

Example: you can act as a good host and ask people at the venue in advance about what they would be interested in to hear from you. What do they expect to learn? What brings them to the venue in the first place? How would they find out afterwards your talk has been useful to them? What initial footprint did you leave after you’ve talked with them and looked them in the eyes, before you bring your public messages? What first sentence did you say to them then?

Every change starts before the actual interaction. ‘Likeability’, for example,¬†does play a role.

In a group I have trained, there was a participant who witnessed about his fear to speak in public. Until the day came where he applied a disarming strategy – and got everybody in the group laughing: before he started to speak to his audience, he pictured them naked. Since then, he added, he had no problem whatsoever with speaking in front of people.

If a strategy works, do more of it.

What are your options to grow as a public speaker? You may want to apply this one, from Amy Cuddy: fake it until you become it.