Snakes, spiders, heights and public speaking. Many people cite one (or all!) of these as their biggest fears. Those who are afraid of public speaking try to avoid it at all costs. If you are one of those people who absolutely panics at the thought of speaking in front of a group, the idea of putting on a workshop, course or talk probably sounds ludicrous. You may have even factored the typically one-on-one format of life coaching into your decision to become one in the first place.
As we’ve talked about in some of our recent blog posts, speaking engagements and workshops are two very effective ways for life coaches to scale their businesses. The one-on-one format that many life coaches follow has its own set of benefits, not only for the coach but also for the client. However, for those coaches who are looking to grow their businesses beyond individual sessions, offering group workshops and presenting at professional groups can be a great way to get your name out there.
Although it can be scary, being comfortable talking in front of people is a valuable skill for coaches and entrepreneurs in general. After all, in addition to being a coach you are a business owner. Part of being a business owner includes marketing the business and selling yourself as the expert who can help solve a client’s problem.
Taking your knowledge and passion for what you do and communicating that to those who need your message is one of the most impactful ways to grow your business.
But what if you are terrified of speaking in front of a group?
If you fall into this category, you are not alone. Glossophobia, the fancy way to say fear of public speaking, is experienced to some degree by about 25 percent of the population. Coaches who want to overcome this fear or possess a greater ability to manage it can follow some of the tips below.
Public Speaking Tips for Life Coaches
When people hire a life coach, they’re hiring you. Of course they want someone who has training and experience; but, they also want to work with someone that they truly like. As a speaker, there can be a tendency to put on an act or not be authentically yourself on stage or when speaking in front of a group. The most successful speakers in any industry are those who are genuinely themselves.
This even includes the clothes you choose to wear. If you are not a business suit kind of person, you shouldn’t wear one on stage or when giving a talk to a group. You won’t feel comfortable and you won’t feel yourself – two of the most important ingredients to a successful speaking engagement.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
We all know that practice makes perfect. And the same applies to being a more confident public speaker. Once you’ve honed in on your topic and the points that you want to make, you should practice your presentation over and over until it feels really comfortable. You want to make sure that the words flow smoothly and feel like they are in your voice.
Practice in front of some trusted friends or family members. Get their feedback to help you prepare the best presentation possible so you can feel confident in the information that you are giving to others.
Know Your Stuff.
One of the reasons many people say that public speaking is a major fear is that they are afraid of not seeming knowledgeable or being embarrassed in front of a group. No matter if you are seeking to become a better speaker or desire to take on speaking engagements to grow your business, it is never a good idea to speak on a topic that you don’t have knowledge or experience with. When you really know and care about your topic, that passion and expertise will shine through and make a greater impact on your listeners.
Say “No” to Being Perfect.
Let’s face it. The first time that you speak publicly it will not be perfect. No matter how much you prepare and how well you know your stuff, there’s always the chance that something could go wrong. Knowing this beforehand can take off some of the pressure that people feel before getting on stage or in front of a group. Tell yourself that it is okay to not be perfect. Anything that goes wrong is an opportunity to learn and improve for the next time.
And the reality is, the people in your audience are rooting for you and want to see you do well. Being real, doing the best you can and providing valuable information is more important to your listeners than if you fumbled a word here and there.
Just Do It!
Once you’ve prepared an amazing presentation and have practiced in front of trusted friends and family, it’s time to just do it. Know that it’s okay to start small. Maybe there’s a small group that you’re a part of that would allow you to put on a brief presentation. Starting in a comfortable environment may help you get used to the idea speaking in front of others and allow you to hone your presentation for future groups.
If you are a life coach, the ability to confidently speak in front of groups can be a huge advantage to your business. Even if you are one of the many people that have a fear of public speaking, you can still take steps to improve your ability to present.
And always remember that you have something important to say that is really going to resonate with the right people. Feel confident that what you say can help someone make a positive change in their life.