Why Public Speaking Is Difficult And How To Fix It.
Public speaking is a formidable task that evokes a mix of excitement and anxiety in many of us. The ability to deliver a powerful message to a captivated audience is a skill that is admired and sought after. However, it's no secret that public speaking can be challenging. In this blog post, we will explore the reasons behind the difficulties associated with public speaking and shed light on how to overcome them.
1. The Intimidation of a Sea of Faces
One of the primary reasons public speaking poses a challenge is the sheer scale of the audience. Standing before a multitude of eyes can trigger feelings of nervousness and self-doubt. Overcoming this hurdle requires building self-confidence and mastering techniques to engage and connect with your listeners.
Start small: you don't learn to sing in front of 100 people, and you would never play the guitar for the first time in front of 20 people. Why is it then... that people think you have to learn public speaking in front of an audience?
As a speaker trainer, I always hear, "Oh I can speak to one or two people, it's large audiences that make me scared."
Okay, but truthfully, until you master the small audience of talking in front of one or two STRANGERS, and then 4 strangers, and 5 strangers, you'll never be comfortable in front of a crowd.
I started practicing talking to myself, then a video camera, and then small crowds. Heck, I talked to small crowds for YEARS and I still talk to small crowds. It's the precursor to big stages.
2. Crafting an Impactful Message
Delivering an effective speech demands careful planning and organization. Crafting a compelling message, structuring content, and employing persuasive techniques are all essential components. This aspect of public speaking can be daunting, even for seasoned speakers, as it necessitates honing skills through practice and refinement.
There is only one fix for this problem... EXPERIENCE.
Listen, I know speakers who spend 200 hours crafting a wedding speech that is meticulously planned down to the very last word. It looks amazing on paper but then the speech flops. Well, it doesn't flop because it's a wedding and all speeches are received well. But it underperforms in my opinion.
Because it doesn't matter how good the words are, it matters how well you are able to deliver those words.
My suggestion is to focus less on the words and learn about body language and delivery first.
Here's a practice video:
3. Fear of Forgetting or Stumbling
The fear of stumbling over words or forgetting key points is a common challenge in public speaking. The pressure to remember every detail and maintain a smooth flow of ideas can provoke anxiety. Embracing techniques such as mnemonic devices and strategic pauses can help alleviate this fear and ensure a more confident delivery.
Bomb a bunch of speeches. That's right, get over that fear of failure by failing.
I have clients who come to me so they NEVER fail, and what do I encourage... failure.
Bomb, and move on.
Until you get good at bombing and moving on, you'll always have a fear of stumbling.
Here's another tip: you're going to realize that bombing isn't so bad, and the fact that you can get over bombing on stage will separate you from 80% of the other speakers.
Facts: most managers, sales professionals, and presenters are terrible presenters. They read from slides, don't use body language, and never engage an audience. And they're speaking for a living, and they're terrible at it.
I'd say that's bombing for an entire career.
What's worse, being a bad speaker your whole life and not knowing it, or bombing a few times and becoming an amazing presenter?
4. Adapting to Diverse Audiences:
Public speaking often involves addressing audiences with varying backgrounds, cultures, and knowledge levels. Tailoring your message to resonate with different groups requires adaptability, sensitivity, and awareness. The ability to connect with diverse audiences can be a challenging yet rewarding aspect of public speaking.
Know your audience. If you're talking to a Japanese team of engineers then you might want to find out a few cultural norms that resonate with your audience.
If you're speaking at a wedding then what's the family you know like? Talk to them, simple.
5. Fear of Judgment and Criticism:
The fear of judgment and criticism can cast a shadow on the public speaking experience. The vulnerability of putting yourself out there and opening up to potential scrutiny can be intimidating. However, it's important to remember that constructive feedback and growth opportunities often arise from these experiences, leading to personal and professional development.
You have to take a public speaking course.
If you're not speaking with purpose and passion then you will most certainly feel judged.
If you speak with purpose and you know what you're saying and you're having fun, then the fear of judgment and criticism is gone.
While public speaking undoubtedly poses its share of challenges, it is a skill that can be mastered with practice and perseverance. By acknowledging the factors that make public speaking difficult and actively working to overcome them, we can enhance our communication abilities and become more confident speakers. Embrace every opportunity to speak, seek constructive feedback, and embrace the transformative power of effective public speaking. Together, we can conquer the challenges and unlock the potential within us.