Last Friday I was on my first panel of the year, Monetizing Your Influence for the Beyond The Influence Summit with 21 Buttons and INSPR. Here’s the thing, I was sent the review questions but I didn’t practice at all. I merely skimmed the questions, realized I had an answer for it all and winged it. I don’t wanna toot my own horn but more than 5 people told me I was refreshing, funny and real. It was not always this way. In fact, I used to hate public speaking. I’d get the worse bubble guts when I’d have to get in front of people and speak but I knew it was a necessary evil. I was studying for a career in the healthcare field and knew I’d have to speak to people everyday, eloquently, informatively and efficiently about their healthcare. Something that is pretty serious yet needed to be broken down in the most basic terms for lay people who aren’t in the healthcare field.[one_half padding=”0 15px 0 0″]
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So when I was in college, I did something I knew I had to do, I enrolled in a public speaking course as an elective. Honestly that move has helped me tremendously over the years. I still have a southern accent which people think is charming and some words are extra twangy when compared to others but I find that people aren’t listening to how you sound, they’re listening to the words you’re saying and deciphering the knowledge dropped that they can immediately apply to their lives.
I’d love to do more speaking engagements in the future to add to my repertoire of being a Full-Time Blogger (I’m really trying to get those 5 streams of income going). All of the people I admire in life have been amazing public speakers. Trust me if you want to be influential in any capacity, not just with being an influencer, knowing how to speak to the masses is a skill set you need to hone. Here’s how to not suck of Public Speaking.
Talk about What You Know
It’s way easier to speak informatively about something you know versus something you don’t. If you’re passionate about a subject chances are you already know a lot about it. You can parlay that expertise into public speaking gigs. I don’t ever really practice when it comes to talking about blogging because I’ve done it for 9 years and I am highly knowledgeable about the topic of blogging, influencing and the like. I’m also very well versed in healthcare, injuries and treatments as well as the human body because for 8 years that was all I talked about everyday with my patients and coworkers. I also spent time brushing up on my knowledge by reading the latest news and watching the latest documentaries in healthcare as well as fashion.
GET THE LOOK
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Practice Makes Perfect
Seriously, speak to people. When you go to an event or function instead of sitting around and only speaking to people you know, go up and introduce yourself to someone new and engage in small talk and conversation. It’s super uncomfortable to do but the more you do it the easier it will become. The best speakers don’t look like they are having a very difficult time when speaking and that’s because they do it a lot, even with people they don’t know. Wanna know how I personally practice my speaking skills daily? Instastories and Instagram Lives! Yes, I hate the sound of my own voice but recording Instastories everyday has really helped me with my public speaking and helped me with my confidence when speaking to people I don’t know. Doing my Youtube videos has also helped. Wow, just look back and see how awkward I was when I first started up until now. I’m much more comfortable after 2 years of camera work. There are also classes and clubs dedicated to helping people with public speaking like Toastmasters.[one_half padding=”0 15px 0 0″]
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Don’t take Yourself Too Seriously
People don’t like to be talked at or talked down on. Make your conversation one of give and take. Never come from a place of having all the answers because no matter how knowledgeable you are about a topic there’s always room to learn. Anecdotes are always a plus, include personal story of how a topic relates to you. This instantaneously makes you more transparent and relatable. Don’t be afraid to inject some humor. That’s my go-to when I’m feeling a little stuck on how to respond to a question. People love to laugh and that happens pretty organically when you don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s ok to say Like and Umm a few times too. Don’t beat yourself up about it. We all do it.
Some people fear public speaking more than death and that’s pretty fantastical. I’ve been there though, so I know how difficult it is. It’s just like playing a sport though, the more you do it the more you get better at it and after a while it’s just like riding a bike. Once you learn, it’s a skill you’ll have forever and can capitalize on. I’m looking forward to doing more speaking engagement this year. Oh and whatever you do, don’t think about everyone in the audience being naked. That’s just weird. It’s better to think that they’re people, just like you.
Do you think public speaking is a necessary skill in life? I’d love to know your opinions on the matter. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and don’t forget to check out Rent The Runway for all of your clothing needs (I’m talking designer). Their unlimited plan came just in time for me to rent this gorgeous dress for my speaking engagement. For $99 a month you can get 4 pieces (clothing, accessories and jewelry) at once and trade them out as soon as you’re done with them. They are also having a 20% Off your first unlimited month sale with Code: FIRSTRTR. It’s pretty amazing especially for events like weddings, speaking engagements, travel and more.
Bonus Tip: Make Sure You Look The Part
Everyone says dress for the job you want and that’s real. Make sure you are dressing the part especially when public speaking. Make a statement. Here are a few of my favorites from Rent The Runway!