During school times, most children who are facing butterflies in the tummy, before stepping on to the stage, are many times told that they must imagine something ridiculous about the audience, like they all have a big fat red nose, or are sitting in their underwear and then all the fear will go away!
While it works with some kids who have a much-enhanced imaginative streak, for some it fails to dispel the jitters. So, they go out there on the stage and face one of their biggest fears – speaking in front of a crowd– and finally get off the stage, glad that they survived.
Clearly, the interesting thing is that this fear isn’t restricted to school going children. Most of us feel the same way, most of our lives each time we enter the meeting room be it to make a presentation in front of the office team or board members; potential clients and of course the ever integral component of the entrepreneurial world the Venture Capitalists.
Feeling this kind of a fear is one of the most natural things. The feeling of self preservation gets heightened when we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory, therefore this fear. Another reason is because we fear being judged and hence the trepidation.
Here in the world of business there’s no option but to head on face these challenges and ultimately master this art. This can be done with the help of certain easy, planned, effective applications;
Being Prepared: Easier when practiced, identify the causes of your problem. Most common denominator is your hesitation or under confidence. In turn points towards having all your facts and information in place or unfamiliarity with the target audience. Better preparation, background research, which by the way thanks to Internet can be managed with ease these days.
Self-confidence: Initially when one steps into a meeting, the first thing that comes loud and clear is confidence of the individual. People tend to like people who are open and confident, not smug mind you, just self-assured individuals. When we are adequately prepared, we tend to be confident and this quality goes a long way in spelling success. Confidence leads to attention from the audience thus making it easy to break ice with them.
Clarity of purpose: Before going into a meeting, we should have prepared a list of things that we intend communicating as well as the objective that we have to achieve. A sheet with some points listed out, or speaker notes are of immense help. When we are clear of what we want to say, confidence automatically seeps in and we are able to conduct ourselves to the best of our ability.
Eye-contact: Just as in relationships, in public speaking, eye contact plays a very crucial role. It shows that the individual is honest and confident and wants to connect. So whoever the audience may be, eye-contact is a must to impress upon a point and win people over.
Body-language: There is a whole science devoted to body language. Suffice to say, when the body language appears open and confident, by way of smiles, uncrossed hands etc., the individual will be heard and appreciated more. Simply put, people tend to trust those who appear to be open people
Speech: While speaking one should be clear in our speech and communication. Pause wherever necessary, particularly when emphasising a point. A little bit of drama in speech goes a long way. Remember in most schools, Speech and Dramatics were hyphenated; now you know why it was so!
As we go up the ladder in our professional life or start off on an entrepreneurial journey, addressing an audience, leading on to Public Speaking at a later stage, is one of the crucial aspects of a Leadership role. Mastering the art and then using it to achieve one’s set objectives will result in a success story.
Keep these tips in mind the next time you are on the threshold of a life-changing meeting. Armed with facts and a warm smile, enter the meeting room with confidence and for sure you will be able to sign off on your next big dream project. All the best!
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