“If you can’t communicate and talk to other people and get across your ideas, you’re giving up your potential.”
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett 1/
Successful businesses and public speaking are inexplicably intertwined in selling ideas and products. If you are afraid of public speaking, you are not alone. Public speaking and stage fright are considered to be the top phobia with nearly 74 percent of us suffering from speech anxiety. Sure, the overall percent is debated, and my guess is that the 74 percent may not be nearly high enough.
Even billionaire investor Warren Buffett suffered1/. He and many very successful business people recognize the need to overcome these fears in order to get their business ideas across and be successful at persuading investors, attracting customers, and inspiring employees. Think of this in terms of money and career: Statistics suggest that those who are afraid are paid 10 percent less2/ and that promotion to managerial jobs is inhibited by 15 percent.3/
There are several things that one can do to get over the fear of public speaking. I think everyone has a memorable ‘Eureka moment’ sometime in their life. Mine was losing a belt just as I was starting a technical presentation. Participants erupted with glee at my total embarrassment (they were probably elated it wasn’t their belt). Public speaking after that day became significantly easier. Now I figure that if I can finish a presentation with all clothing intact, I’ve scored. But now I also make extra sure that my clothing is fairly bullet proof...nothing is EVER going to fall off, unzip, or pop off if I can help it.
Why tempt fate? Careful preparation is often the best ‘go to’ tricks for presentations. No matter how well one prepares, there are always uncontrollable events that can mar a presentation. Minimizing the chance of as many problems as possible is the goal.
Ramping up your skills. There are many outlets for improving your skills in public speaking and confidence. While dropping clothing is unforgettable, it may not get you what you need. Consider joining a speaking group and getting a little mentoring or feedback, typically from folks who have a great appreciation for public speaking well done.
Practice. Look for opportunities to practice at low risk and informal events. You can even ask for a bit of feedback from listeners. Most of all? Talk from the heart, forgive yourself, and try again. Help your audience understand why you care about the issue. Your audience will forgive you, if you have done due diligence to give them your best and what they expect. The old adage ‘practice makes perfect’ really fits here for your career and your successful small business. Don’t let fear give away your profits or your dreams.
1 “How Warren Buffett And Joel Osteen Conquered Their Terrifying Fear Of Public Speaking” by Carmine Gallo https://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2013/05/16/how-warren-buffett-and-joel-osteen-conquered-their-terrifying-fear-of-public-speaking/#114997c704aa
2 “15 Fear of Public Speaking Statistics” by Brandon Gaille https://brandongaille.com/14-fear-public-speaking-statistics/
3 “5 Shocking Public Speaking Statistics” Kelly Allison https://www.ethos3.com/2018/03/5-shocking-public-speaking-statistics/