You’ve been invited to speak or perhaps your boss has ‘requested’ you speak. Whatever your reason for speaking, if you are like most people, nervousness takes over as you begin the process of anxiously awaiting the date. Hopefully, you create your speech or presentation well in advance and practice it out loud over and over and over again.
What is important to understand in this process is that you need to focus on what you have to offer your listeners. Why will they be in attendance and what need of theirs can you satisfy?
Often you can get so caught up in the message, the delivery, and your nervousness, that your focus shifts from your audience to yourself.
Yes, they are coming to hear you; but, in truth, it is your message that they want to hear. My question to you is what are you offering them?
If you can shift from you, the speaker, to them, your listeners, your focus will be to satisfy their needs or solve their problems, instead of satisfying your own needs. Yes, it is exciting to give a great presentation or speech. There is no question about it. But how are you helping your audience?
Maybe you truly love public speaking. There is nothing wrong with that. It is a wonderful means of networking and getting your message across to many people in one setting. However, as great as your delivery or your message, the bottom line deals with your listeners. Give your audience the answers, the real ‘nuts and bolts,’ and you will have followers forever.
What this really means is that you need to care about their needs. In doing so, your delivery will be that much stronger and you will discover a wonderful method of allowing your nervousness to work for you and not against you; i.e., concentrate on them and not on your nervousness.
The best way to do this is to make eye contact with your audience. Only then can you recognize their response to your words which is the other half of the conversation you are having. By the way, if your eyes are glued to an object on the wall or you are staring at just one person, you will be unable to see how your message is affecting everyone else.
When you can accomplish your goal of satisfying their needs, you will truly understand that public speaking is not about you. Public speaking is about your audience and what you can offer them.