Public speaking is a major fear for so many people - ranking higher than the fear of heights, clowns, spiders, snakes and, apparently, even death. I can believe this, as I would say I felt more nervous at my first proper speaking “gig” than I did when I got married, or jumped out of a plane. Now, I have a job which requires public speaking on a regular basis. Why would I, as an introverted, autistic, ISFJ-T, put myself through this, I hear you ask, and why should you?
Putting yourself out there and getting up on stage has a number of huge benefits, despite how scary it might seem. It’s an amazing way to get you and your personal brand out there and establish yourself as someone who is great at what they do. That is, of course, once you get past the “I have nothing to say and even if I did, why would people want to listen to me, because I am rubbish”, phase.
But how do you get past that phase, particularly when Imposter Syndrome is telling you to not bother? Fake it till you make it! Seriously.
Stages of public speaking:— Natmate (@NatDudley) January 25, 2018
1. There are so many topics I can’t pick one
2. I have nothing to say and I will never be able to fill all the time.
3. Oh god I have too much to say how do I get rid of some of it.
4. I need to puke from nerves.
5. That was awesome let’s do it again.
Regardless of whether you pitched to speak, or were asked, the most important thing you can bear in mind is that the people who invited you to their event believe in your planned content and, more importantly, in you as a presenter.
Another great reason to do it is the confidence boost and adrenaline rush you get when you come off-stage. While some of it will undoubtedly be relief at having gotten through it/not thrown up/not fallen over, there will be a big rush of endorphins and you’ll feel great - you’ll have done something many other people fear doing, and in doing so have imparted valuable knowledge to those who listened to you.
My third reason to try your hand at public speaking, particularly as a woman, is to try and be a role model to other females in the industry. You’ll be the one to prove there are talented women who are not afraid to get up and let themselves be heard. You’ll show event organisers that there are plenty of women out there willing to speak at events to help change the ratio. And by sharing your knowledge, you’re the one showing other women that you want to help them follow you up the ladder.
Remember that the people who invited you to their event believe in your planned content and, more importantly, in you as a presenter.
Finally, if you want some feedback on what makes a good Powerpoint presentation for public speaking, this TED talk is a great watch!