In addition to what I spoke about in Symptoms of Fear of Public Speaking one of the most important factors in having a good stage presence is feeling comfortable, not just to deliver your public speech but also to allow your personality to shine through.
This is probably something that the beginning public speaker or the uncomfortable public speaker doesn’t want to hear. If people are not just seeing and hearing the public speaker delivering a speech, but are also seeing and hearing about who the public speaker is behind their speech, then we are opening ourselves up to being judged by the audience. If you have public speaking anxiety or a general fear of public speaking, this may rank as one of your primary nightmarish fears.
You could say public speaking has a lot in common with being a skilled salesman in this respect. In fact you could say the two are related. It’s not just what you say, but how you say it. And even if there isn’t a product or service to sell, you are still selling an idea, a belief, or information. And your personality certainly can play a very influential role in whether people buy you and what you’re selling.
Let’s say you are trying to persuade people to consider your point of view on an issue you feel is of significant public importance that perhaps hasn’t been in the spotlight, or which you feel needs to be addressed in a different manner to the way its currently being handled, you are a salesman in that capacity.
There might not be any money to take from people, but you are asking them to buy into whatever you’re putting to them in your speech or presentation. You are in sales and perhaps never realised it. Why do you think public speaking is a very lucrative career for some people? Because they can sell ideas and have those ideas bought right? And through their personality they can quickly warm the audience up to whatever it is that they are selling.
For many a seasoned public speaker or professional public speaker, they quickly go on to attract fans – people that feel they have been helped by the speaker or have benefited from a previous speech that they aspire to learn more from the public speaker or merely want to lend their support.
Have you heard of Tony Robbins, Les Brown, Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn, Bob Proctor, Joe Vitale, Dr John DeMartini? They are all personal development “gurus” and they are also highly influential great public speakers! Tony Robbins probably being the most widely known of the bunch.
Guess what? How many people do you think would buy their company’s products, services and courses if they weren’t going on stage to promote and sell those products, services and courses? A lot less than there are. Why? because at their seminars or events, their prospective clients are getting to meet them, and to see and feel what the speaker is about before deciding to buy.
It would be less effective if someone else was representing the company. And even worse still if the company didn’t even entertain public speaking, merely advertising through the media.
There’s also an extra significant and valuable benefit that is gained through public speaking marketing to an audience. Which sounds better: And that is through word of mouth recommendations from the people that were part of your audience. And if you weren’t presenting and marketing yourself, not only would you have less people speak about you, but they wouldn’t be able to recommend you as effectively either.
- Consider these two examples: “Hey, I went to this really excellent Boston Higgs’ seminar last night. He was amazing”
- “Hey, I went to this really excellent workshop last night. There were people from a company run by some guy called Boston Higgs, talking about this course that he runs? It was amazing”
The one where the person is mentioned as being the person present and running the seminar sounds better right?
So unless you’re doing some kind of speech where all you need to do in your role is demonstrate something, and somebody else will be handling the aspect of selling the product or service to the client, then as a public speaker you are also a salesperson. And a great salesperson has a great personality. A great salesperson leaves a transaction with the client feeling served rather than just a target for commission.
So to become a more effective public speaker, you’ll need to quickly get over the symptoms of fear of public speaking if you have any, but you also need to learn to become comfortable with letting your personality shine through when you’re speaking.
Yes, people are going to judge you. The saying that “first impressions count” didn’t become a popular saying merely because it sounds good. It became popular because people believe it to be true.
The good news is that your audience are not looking to judge you negatively – unless it’s known beforehand that you will be talking about a controversial issue perhaps, and even in that case it will be some members of the audience that may behave this way rather than the entire audience.
So, your public speaking personality or your public speaking persona is quite an important public speaking skill for you to develop. A successful public speaker is automatically a salesperson, but fortunately they are in sales from a position where they don’t have to get locked into a two way exchange, they simply have a ready made audience in front of them, listening to what they have to say.
The public speaker simply needs to persuade the audience within an allotted time to buy the idea, belief, information, product, or service that they are trying to sell. If the public speaker has a great personality, this process will be made all the easier and all the more successful.
So learn to let your personality shine through. Your audience will appreciate you having the self-confidence let your personality shine through. To be comfortable showing yourself on stage. And once you start to feel comfortable with being you on stage, you can then start to enjoy public speaking. One less thing to worry about and in its place you get much more leverage to deliver not just great speeches, but persuasive speeches too!