A lot of people would rather drink poison than stand up in front of a crowd and give a speech. Did you know that public speaking is the top fear in America just behind death? Just the thought of it makes some people sick to their stomachs and break out in a cold sweat. But there will come a time when you can’t avoid public speaking being a professional. There is a lot of advice out there on how to become a public speaker and what public speaking skills you might need. Unfortunately listening to other people’s advice on how to conquer your fears and engage your audience might make the situation worse. Here are 5 misconceptions about speaking in front of an audience.
Misconception #1 Introvert People Can’t Be A Great Speaker.
Introverts make wonderful speakers. They have their own strengths and unique qualities. Some famous introverts are Bill Gates, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks, and Warren Buffet just to name a few. People think that when you are an introvert that you are shy and because of that you will not make a great speaker. That is not always the truth. It’s about having inner power. Having great public speaker skills means that you need to be prepared at all times. That goes for an introvert and an extrovert.
Misconception #2 People Will Be Able To Tell That You Are Nervous.
I understand that nervous feeling you get when you are the center of attention and all eyes are on you. You’re worried about messing up your speech or worse yet forgetting it. You can hear your heart about to beat out of your chest and your breathing might be short and shallow. But nobody knows that but you. The audience does not know that you are nervous. Everybody gets nervous when they are about to give a speech. Use that nervousness to fuel yourself forward to be a better dynamic speaker. Most of what you are feeling is invisible to the audience.
Misconception #3 It Takes Years To Become a Public Speaker
Like any other skill anyone can learn how to be a public speaker. It takes practice in order for you to feel confident about yourself and to get better with speaking in front of a group. Consider going to Toastmasters to learn public speaking skills. Toastmasters have been around since 1924. It is a great place to go to hone your speaking skills and get the practice and confidence you need. The only thing is you only get to speak 3 times in a 12 week class. If you want to gain experience more quickly than consider giving speeches at your office, or Chamber of Commerce to get more practice.
Misconception #4 Start Your Speech With A Joke
Face it everyone is not a comedian. Humor has its place but if you’re not a natural at telling jokes then it’s a possibility that it might backfire on you. What if everyone doesn’t get your joke? What if the joke you told end up being offensive to some people? The bottom line is, don’t do it. You don’t have to be funny to be effective.
Misconception #5 Standing In One Place
You don’t want to come off as you are hiding behind a lectern if there is one on the stage. It’s okay to stand behind the lectern but you need to come out of there and engage with the audience. By moving around on the stage, you’ll be able to interact with the audience more and get them involved. Watch some of the top speakers that you admire and see what they do. Notice how they move around the stage and are interacting with the audience. You want to be able to do the same while you are speaking.