Do you get nervous at the idea of public speaking? You're not alone! It's one of the most common fears and it's believed glossophobia (fear of public speaking) affects up to 75% of the population to some extent.
It's a fear worth tackling, though, because public speaking can be really beneficial to your business. Here's what John Davies has to say about it:
Public speaking is often most people's living nightmare, but it's a great opportunity to speak to many at one time, and you never know who's in the audience who can make a difference to your business.
Because so many people shy away from public speaking, you'll stand out if you put yourself forward. Practice in front of your family - or your pets! Just like any other skill, you'll become more confident with experience, and you'll get better at it too.
Start by tackling subjects you're intimately familiar with. That way, even if you get flustered, you should be able to get yourself back on track. If you must use cue cards, don't write your entire talk down on them - just broad section headings. If you're tied rigidly to a scripted talk, you'll never be able to look up from your cue cards and connect with the audience, which is really important to do (and believe it or not, it'll boost your confidence!).
Looking at the floor is tempting, but it will make you look nervous and inexperienced. If you're really nervous, find someone in the audience that you know, or failing that, someone who is visibly reacting well to your talk. You can keep looking back at them for reassurance (and eventually you'll be able to look all around the room while speaking).
Finally, don't worry! You probably know more about your chosen topic than most, it not all, of the people in the room - and they're looking forward to hearing all about it!
Do you have any top tips for tackling public speaking nerves? Talk to us on Twitter or LinkedIn.