Guest Post: Gavin Meikle,
Presenting & Influencing
Readers of my blog know I sometimes post the writings of other speakers. Gavin Meikle is a friend and fellow speaker from across the pond. His writing on “Why You Should Present” nails it so well I asked him to share it.
You have probably heard that research suggests that fear of public speaking is one of the three top human fears along with death and spiders. So, given that, why would anyone want to learn to speak in public at all?
If you are a reluctant presenter or you know someone else who is, I suggest you ask two questions.
A) How much is your fear of public speaking costing you?
B) What benefits could you get by reducing your fear of public speaking ?
I believe that there are some huge payoffs that come as a result of becoming a more confident speaker and that these far outweigh the initial temporary discomfort that comes with learning how to do it. Here are my top ten.
1 ) Make yourself more promotable
These days, effective communication skills are an extremely valuable transferable skill. Many interviews now include the requirement for a candidate to make a short presentation and preference is given to those who can present clearly and engagingly. And this doesn’t just apply to customer facing jobs either. I recently heard anIT recruiter talk on TV about how they now wanted “geeks that speak“.
2 ) Create a positive first impression with potential clients and employers
Demonstrating a good ability to speak in public is a great way to get noticed in an organisation. By it’s very nature most presentations are “one-to-many” communications so you can influence a lot of people in one hit. Most people admire others who can speak in public so by learning this skill you are your putting yourself on the fast track to success.
3 ) Broaden your circle of influence
We all would like to feel we have an impact on the wider world, be it our company, our family or our community. Developing the confidence to speak in public gives you the power to influence more people more quickly. Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world”
4 ) Build your self-esteem
Being able to present effectively and receive the positive feedback that inevitably comes is hugely self empowering. I have had the privilege of watching people conquer the fear of public speaking they all report that learning to speak with confidence brings with it a massive increase in confidence and self esteem.
5 ) Increase your networking effectiveness
If you are trying to develop new business and new customers through attending networking events you will certainly need to learn how to present with confidence. Most network groups offer two main speaking opportunities. First there is the inevitable 40-60 second round table introduction session. If the way you deliver this creates a poor impression your likelihood of getting referrals and recommendations is significantly reduced. Secondly, most groups offer a limited number of longer slots where members can present to the group. This is a fantastic opportunity to give examples of what you do, how you do it and who you are looking to connect with. Far too many networkers never take up this opportunity because they are too afraid of public speaking and that slows down their business growth.
6 ) Set an great example to your kids:
Believe it or not, your children will pick up a lot of their most powerful belief s from copying you. Do you really want your children to be shy, retiring wallflowers? Be a positive role model by learning how to express yourself in public.
7 ) Get your thoughts and opinions heard by a wider audience
You have a unique set of experiences that others would benefit from hearing. Imagine how many more people would get to hear your story if you were able to reduce your fear of public speaking.
8 ) Get paid to speak in public
As a currently reluctant presenter, the thought of getting paid to speak may seem like pure fantasy but it is possible. There are thousands of people who have developed the confidence to tell their story and who earn good money sharing it with audiences around the globe.
9 ) Give a great wedding speech or eulogy
Even if you don’t want to or need to speak at work, you may well be asked to do so at some sort of family occasion. Of course you may be able to get out of it but think how much better you will feel if you do it and do it well. Whether it a best man’s speech, father of the bride speech or even a funeral eulogy, let your voice be heard.
10) Improve your leadership abilities
Leaders set a clear vision for their team and then communicate that vision with passion and belief. Mastering the art of public speaking will allow you to be a much more effective leader whatever the context. Writing memos isn’t enough. Your team need to see and hear your passion!
So isn’t it about time that you did something about your fear of public speaking and start reaping the benefits that it will bring.
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