One Idea That Will Destroy Your Biggest Fear
One of the biggest fears that most people experience is public speaking. Many would rather do anything else than get up in front an audience. I remember one of the first workshops I gave over 20 years ago. I won’t describe what happened before I took the stage, I will let your imagination run wild, but I can say it wasn’t pretty. I was terrified. The workshop was the longest five hours of my life. But I got through it. After it was all over, I thought to myself, “It wasn’t pretty but I could do this again.” And so began my career of public speaking.
Before my first public speaking experience, I started out coaching sales people one-on-one. I thought if I coached people one on one, I would never have to leave my office and get up in front of a group. I remember one day a client said to me, “Wouldn’t it be better to bring the group together, lay a foundation of best sales practices and then start the coaching?” I knew he was right. However, I desperately wanted to avoid speaking in front of a group at all costs.
Whenever I take on a new challenge in my life I ask myself this question:
“What is the worst thing that could happen if I do this?”
I ask this question each time before I take the stage. A few years ago, I was speaking to a large group of financial advisors in Las Vegas at their National Sales Meeting. I entered the room and started my presentation. On a side note, the AV person had forgotten to tape down the wires (for a speaker that is a very important detail that should not be overlooked). Well, I was about 10 minutes into my presentation and tripped over the wires, disconnecting the power! Here I was standing in a dark room, no lights, no PowerPoint and no sound. What was I to do? I started to laugh. I reached down and plugged everything back in and said, “Well, I guess that is the worst thing that can happen.” So I asked the audience, “What is the worst thing that can happen to you when you pick up the phone and prospect?”Everyone laughed, so I seized the moment and related the experience I just had with the wires and related it to prospecting.
When you ask yourself the question, “What is the worst thing that can happen,” the downside is always considerably small in comparison to the upside. It is critical that you focus on that upside. Over the past 20 years I have had the opportunity to coach thousands of salespeople with the goal of helping increase their selling skills. Each time I take the stage, I have an opportunity to improve my communication skills as well. In one of my favorite books it states, “Do you see a man skilled at his work? He will stand before kings, not obscure men.” I believe that you and I get paid for three things: The knowledge, skills, and results we bring to the marketplace. The person working at McDonalds is not receiving $10 per hour in wages. Rather, this person is receiving $10 per hour for the knowledge, skills and results that he or she brings to the hour. If you would like to increase your income, remember to enhance the value you bring to the marketplace each day.
What does all of this have to do with sales? Everything! By improving my public speaking skills, I increased my confidence, communication, and sales skills many times over. As a result, my income has increased dramatically over the past 20 years. I recently returned from a speakers workshop with the internationally known motivational speaker, Les Brown. It was fantastic. I learned so much that day including how to improve my speaking skills. Observing Les Brown was worth the price of admission. Someone asked me, “You have been speaking for over twenty years. Why would you go do something like this?” Simple answer. I can always learn something to improve my skills.
I must confess that I have never taken a public speaking course or had a coach. However, I have observed myself on video many times and have spent hours in a quiet room practicing over and over again until I get it right. I always prepare and practice before every speech. I never wing it.
You may consider taking a public speaking course or joining toastmasters.Why? Because of the self-confidence and courage you will gain. When you diminish your fear of speaking in front of audiences you will dramatically increase your confidence when prospecting.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by taking every opportunity to speak.
Public speaking has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. It is also the biggest fear I have had to overcome. There are many doors have opened because I have raced towards my fear instead of hiding from it. All great visionary leaders have the courage and self-confidence to express themselves with great conviction. If you want to observer a master communicator in action watch any speech given by Steve Jobs of Apple. Here is a great book to read as well “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience” by Carmine Gallo
What has been your experience with public speaking?