My Blog

By Helen Jamieson

Ready to take centre-stage?

08 November

woman public speaking

Earlier this week, I spoke about My Business, My Success at a Chamber of Commerce event. Standing up and speaking in front of a group of people is what I do on a regular basis. I think the largest group I have spoken to is about 250.

Could you stand in front of 250 people – or even 25 people – and speak about your business?

I often get nervous, but nothing like I used to feel 20 years ago when I first started doing public speaking. It does get easier the more you do it! I promise.

After I had spoken this week, several business people commented that they never speak in public and could not do what I had just done.

It’s a real shame if people think they can’t, as public speaking is such a great way to raise your personal and business profile. But as with so many things in life, we often allow the little doubting voice in our head to overcome good business sense. But in doing so, we inhibit the growth of our businesses and do ourselves a disservice too. And that’s not good.

Do you have a little voice of doubt in your head? ‘No I can’t do it’, ‘I’ll look stupid’, ‘I’ll forget what to say’, ‘my voice will wobble’, ‘I don’t know enough’, ‘what I say won’t interest them’, ‘my nerves will show’, etc. But so what if you’re nervous? Numerous celebrities, actors, authors and business people get nervous, but they refuse to allow the little voice in their head to dictate what they will and won’t do, and what they can and can’t do.

Is it time for you to take your courage in your hands and do what needs to be done to promote your business? If yes, then you need to put a stop to the endless self doubt. Turn that inner voice off or shout back at it that it’s wrong and you have as much confidence and courage as the next person! And once you have done this, hold your head up high, be proud of who and what you are, put a smile on your face and step confidently on to the podium.

And here are just a few tips for confident public speaking for beginners:

Preparation

• Choose to speak on a topic you are passionate about. This way you will rely on your passion to keep your thoughts flowing rather than your notes.
• Have water before you begin and keep water to hand in case your throat goes dry.

What to wear

• Keep the heels down as high heels and nerves equals business woman wobbling on podium!
• Avoid really tight fitting clothing or too much clothing as you can get hot when public speaking.
• Don’t wear jewellery you are going to fiddle with.
• If you are on a raised platform to speak be aware of not wearing too short a skirt and make sure your shoes are smart as they will be more visible than usual.

During the presentation

• Aim to swivel your eyes across your audience every ten or twenty seconds. Don’t look at any one person for too long.
• Know that they cannot see your churning insides. They can only see the smile on your face. So smile and keep smiling!
• Put your head up and your shoulders back and remind yourself that you are a total superstar and really proud of what you have achieved.

Good luck!

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