On this week’s Fearless Presentations ® podcast, the host, Doug Staneart introduced ways to look more professional and confident when presenting to a group. This week’s Tech Find was a stock-photo website called ShutterStock. And the Hot Topic for this week was part two of a two part session on 10 Ways to Eliminate Public Speaking Fear. Doug speaks about the last five of these tips on this podcast. The Fearless Presentations ® Podcast is being offered as a way to access content from the 2-day Fearless Presentations ® classes via MP3 or podcasting services. Make sure to subscribe to the podcast to make sure you receive new episodes as they are released.
Tech Find: Shutterstock Stock Photos
I’ve been using ShutterStock for my company stock photos for years, and I love this website. Stock photos are great for use in PowerPoint and Prezi slideshows, and you can also use them in social media posts. The nice part about ShutterStock is that you pay a monthly fee, and you can download hundreds of photos each month. If you haven’t purchased photos recently, they can be very expensive. One good stock photo could be hundreds of dollars for just a limited number of uses. With this website, though, you receive the license for the photo use, and they acquire all of the releases from the models so you can use the photos worry free. So, any time that you are building a slide deck, and you need the perfect photo for a point that you are making in your presentation, start with this photo website, and it can save you a ton of wasted time.
Hot Topic: 10 Ways to Eliminate Public Speaking Fear (Part 2)
Below are the last five ways to eliminate public speaking fear that Doug mentioned on this podcast.
- Look for a Friendly Face. Remember that, for the most part, the audience is not your enemy. In fact, if you are communicating well, your audience can help you build confidence. When you say something that people in the audience agree with, you will see members of the audience nod slightly. This is positive piece of feedback to let you know that the person that nodded understood your point, and that you communicated well. As you see these positive forms of feedback, your confidence will grow. The opposite is true too, though. Sometimes there are people in your audience who are tougher to convince or who may just not want to be there at all. The more that you focus on these folks, the more uncomfortable you will feel as the speaker. So, focus on the friendly faces, and most often, the tougher cases will come along if you are really communicating effectively.
- Drop Your Hands. If you want to look more poised and confident when you stand up to speak, start with your hands dropped to your side. When we feel threatened, we want to put something between us and the threat. So, if we feel threatened by our audience, we naturally put our hands between them and us. Many speakers will clasp their hands at this point. When we do, we are losing a lot of potential energy and enthusiasm. We tend to make fewer gestures with our hands, because to make a gesture now, we have to 1) break the clasp and then 2) make the gesture. These gestures tend to look very robotic and unnatural as well. However, when you start with your hands by your side, you will gesture more fluidly and more often. These gestures will also make you look more energetic and powerful as a speaker.
- Speak about Topics in which You are an Expert. In business presentations, if you are the person speaking, you are, most often, the person in the room who knows the most about that topic. For instance, if you are the project manager, then you’d be the perfect choice to deliver a project report. When we are learning to present, however, we often have to present on topic that we actually don’t know a lot about. For instance, in High School, we had to give book reports. Since many of us never actually finished the book, we were really nervous in that situation. A lot of public speaking fear actually comes from well-meaning teachers or coaches trying to help us be more confident. By the way, we aren’t saying to avoid giving a speech if you don’t think that you are an expert. However, in those instances, make sure to practice more and research the topic much more diligently.
- Show Enthusiasm. The energy that you have as a speaker is the most important aspect of your speaking style. Enthusiasm is the most sought-after skill in public speaking. If you want your audience to be enthused about your topic, you need to have a little bit more energy when delivering the topic as well.
- Practice with a Person. Most people practice their presentations alone, and that is a huge mistake. When we practice in front of a mirror or record ourselves, we will be overly critical. In addition, we don’t get the feedback that is valuable to make corrections. When we practice with a friend, coworker, or significant other, though, we do get that feedback. When we say something that the partner understands, we see the positive nods. When we say something confusing, we see that confusion in the face of the partner as well. This allows us to make corrections to our presentations so when we present in front of our “real group”, we deliver an even better presentation. Be careful not to over-practice, or you will fall into the trap of trying to memorize the entire speech.
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