Kaylene Ledgar, Communication Coach and Author of Speaking, shares her top tips to help you find your voice.
As the movement of women finding their own voice grows and grows, some women still have a fear of speaking … not only speaking up but also speaking in public more generally.
This fear can manifest in many ways – a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, sweaty palms, racing heartbeat, panic attacks, shaking knees, dry mouth… I know all the symptoms because I’ve been there!
At the height of my fear I struggled to speak in front of even two people.
The fear is real and when it surfaces it can be both personally and professionally crippling. Living with this fear led me down a path of low self-esteem and missed opportunities.
The good news is that the you can overcome your fear and go from petrified to performing with these 6 keys. These tips will help you kickstart your confidence in speaking in 2020.
1 – Purpose
You must first have a need that is greater than your fear.
For years, I wanted a promotion at work. To do so, I had to speak in front of a two-person interview panel. Year, after year I watched others win the promotions and leave me behind because of my fear of the interview panel. This changed in 2003, when I had enough of watching others win the promotions. I decided it was my time.
My need finally outweighed my fear.
What opportunities are you missing because of your fear of speaking?
And what impact is this having on your professional and personal life?
Having decided to face your fear, you need to establish a speakers mindset. First, spend time reflecting on your fear. Know your fear and nervous signs and the triggers behind them.
My triggers were many (shaking knees to sleepless nights), but can be summed up as the fear of failure. Reframing all my negative thoughts was the key to creating a speakers mindset.
Take time to reflect on your fear, then reframe any negative thoughts using positive words of affirmation.
We fear what we don’t know. Therefore, to face my fear, I needed to develop my skills. Initially I completed a short public speaking course then joined a Toastmasters Club. Over the years I have invested time and money in attending workshops and courses to further develop my skills. I read books and articles. I observe speakers both live and online. All the time I am learning more and getting a greater understanding of how to be an effective speaker.
Speaking is a learned skill, start learning today.
4 – Content
This was a major part of my fear when it came to the job interview. I knew I needed to sell my experience so the interview panel could determine if I am was fit for the job or not, and I wanted to win the job. This required me to build content.
What information do you want to share?
What stories or case studies can you use to get your message across?
5 – Practice
Using your knowledge and skills practice delivering the content. Sharing your message in stories works best, people connect to stories, and therefore remember your point.
Share your stories with family, friends and colleagues. The more you practice sharing stories, the more confident you will be when it’s time to deliver.
6 – Feedback
Learn from every experience. As a speaker, recording my presentations is key for my continued improvement. Know what worked and what could be done better or differently next time.
Complete your own self-evaluation and seek feedback from others.