How can I conquer my fears of public speaking, either in front of a group or at company and industry events? – Corina in Terre Haute, Indiana
Start small. Do not expect to wake up tomorrow and be transformed. You will achieve your goals of public speaking with confidence when you establish incremental objectives.
I would like to share a story to illustrate this. As I progressed in my career, each new stage required presentations in front of larger groups with more and more executives. It was scary moving from a small peer group with our manager into this higher level. My voice and hands would shake a bit, and I would talk incredibly fast. I recognized this was in important skill to master.
So my first practical step was to identify what made me uncomfortable and then plan a strategy on how to overcome the challenge. What made me uncomfortable was the lack of experience.
I joined a community volunteer organization and took the lead of a major endeavor. Along with running and managing the committee, I made presentations to the board with our findings and recommendations. I had more confidence in this setting, probably because I did not perceive it as threatening.
My second practical step in the process was experience and repetition. With every presentation I was more assured and in charge. Soon I was presenting to the city council and a small audience.
Shortly after, I had an important presentation at work with a large group of senior executives. While I still had a few butterflies, my incremental learning process paid off big time. The meeting was a huge success.
Lynn Whitbeck is the co-founder and President of Petite2Queen. She is focused on identifying and evaluating opportunities for women at work, helping them define their personal roadmap. She dedicates herself to delivering tools and insights, embracing visualization of the big picture, and identifying and implementing the minutiae of detail. Lynn aims to share lessons learned along her journey and enable positive uplift for women.