The most important part of being a good public speaker is being able to let go of needing the approval of your audience. You might not fully let go, but even a slight releasing of approval-seeking from the audience will help you become much more comfortable in yourself.
When you’re more comfortable in your own skin in front of the group, your natural enthusiasm and charisma can start to emerge.
One of the hallmarks of engaging speakers is they embody a sense of energy and enthusiasm about the topic they’re sharing about. Even if it’s about salad dressing, if someone is passionate about it, they can draw you into the fascinating aspects of their world.
The second step to Confident Speaking is to generate this sense of energy and enthusiasm about your topic. One of the best ways to do this is to connect with your purpose.
When you start tapping into why you’re giving your talk, why it’s important and meaningful to you and your audience, you start to naturally radiate enthusiasm. Most importantly, you step outside of the “Am I doing it well enough?” mindset and into a mindset of “How can I deliver to these people? How can I communicate, share, help and serve them even more?”
Why am I giving this talk? How does this talk impact others and myself?
The better reasons you have for giving the talk, the better you’ll feel and the better your talk will be.
You draw power from your purpose when your reasons are compelling, exciting, and aligned with your values.
Before I give a talk to students or an audience, I ask myself this question: Why am I giving this talk? What is my purpose for doing this?
I’m here to share something that’s going to help these people improve their lives. I’m here to teach, to share, to give something to this group. I’m here to step outside of my own comfort zone and share in an authentic and vulnerable way, which will model to others they too have the courage and power to step forward and authentically share in their own lives.
By the time I’m done listing my reasons, I’m fired up. I’m not concerned with if I’m enough, but instead focused on how I want to positively impact the lives of other people.
Even if your talk is an informational dialogue about finances for your company, you can still draw power from your purpose. In fact, with this kind of talk it’s essential you dig deeper and find your reasons for giving the talk.
I’m giving this talk because I want to share my knowledge and expertise with this group. I want to help them make good decisions that’ll impact the entire company and the livelihood of all the employees.
Notice the theme of both of these purpose statements is that your talk is making a difference. It matters. More importantly, it matters to someone beyond yourself.
When we can focus our energy on the group we’re speaking to, we can get outside of our own self-consciousness. And this is exactly what’s needed when we step up and speak, because speaking is being in a leadership role.
Even if it’s just a five-minute introduction at a networking meeting, you’re in a leadership role while you’re speaking.
The next time you’re going to speak, even if it’s just a few minutes, remind yourself:
- Why am I doing this?
- What is important about what I’m sharing and doing here?
- What kind of leader do I want to be?