Intro to Public Speaking!
Do you get nervous, anxious, or even weirded out when you have to speak in front of people? I’ll admit, it has happen to me quite a few times, but there are many ways you can overcome this fear. Take my hand, (figuratively of course) and lets explore the different techniques of overpowering your fear and being able to speak confidently in public!
Break the Ice
Public Speaking is a MAJOR part of our daily lives whether you believe it or not. It can be in the form of conversation over the phone with a customer, working behind the counter at a local store, presenting a project in front of classmates, pinching an idea to an investor, selling your products at a trade show, and so many other ways. Even though technology has played a vital role in just about everything we do, we must break away from the normal electronic communication via text messages and emails, and engage in face to face conversations.
Lets say you are enrolled in school and you have to present a small project to your classmates. The catch is, the presentation must be an oral report and last between 5-10 minutes. How should you begin your presentation? Start by engaging with your audience and ask them a funny question. Make a good attempt to point at someone and allow them to answer the question. This not only keeps your audience on their toes by paying attention, but it also opens up the atmosphere and make it a little more comfortable for you. If starting off with a funny question doesn’t interest you, you may want to start off with an intriging quote or even a scenario that relates to your topic.
If your form of public speaking isn’t in the classroom, rather more about face to face time with customers, then listen up! Most establishments will take on many different types of customers with different types of characteristics and attitudes (When I say attitude, there can be good attitudes and bad attitudes). To go deeper, is your vibe off? Are you making the situation worst than what it needs to be? In many cases, people tend to feed off of others. If you have a bad attitude then chances are so will your customers/audience and vice versa. It is like the weather; if its bright and sunny outside that tends to effect the way people feel. I won’t lie, this is sometimes the way my day goes as well.
A pleasant greeting will also set the tone of the conversation. ” Hello, hi, how are you? How many I assist you?” These are all good ways to begin a conversation with a customer. In reality, you may not be there to help your customer through a life crisis, but a simplet act of kindness can go a long way. Customer face to face public speaking is usually quick and easy. They come into your establishment because you offer a certain service or product that they want, you provide that service, then they leave. Thats a very quick conversation! If being in front of customers makes you nervous, treat the situation as if you were talking to one of your close friends…but keep it professional! This may help to take the ease off your nervousness.
Lets try out this quick scenario of a customer face to face public speaking situation. Cara works a Sephoara and it is her first day on the job. She is nervous because she doesn’t want to mess up on anything, but she wants to impress her supervisor. A customer walks into the store and instantly directs her attention to Cara. Customer: “Hey, I am looking for this shade of blue that I saw in your commercial. I can’t remember the actual color but I really like it and need it for an event tonight. Can you help me? Cara: “Uh, uh, hmm hello, yes of course I can help! Let me show you the different shades of blue we offer.” Cara mistakenly takes the customer to a different product with a different shade, drops merchandise, and looks lost. Customer: “Are you sure you know where it is because I am in a rush? It doesn’t look like we are going to the right place for what I want!”Cara: “Ugh! Look this is my first day, cut me some slack ok.”
Do you think Cara handled this situation properly? The answer is no. Customers can be very pushy at times but it is up to you to remain clam and professional. Cara’s responses should have been: “I’m so sorry, this is my first day and I am just so nervous. Let me get my manager to help me locate the items for you.”
No matter where you are in life, there will come a time for you to become a public speaker. Lets get the ball rolling by implementing these few steps:
- Think thoroughly before you speak
- Be confident in what you have to say to your audience
- Ask questions and get your audience involved
- And lastly…SMILE