To be an effective public speaker, you need to have confidence on stage. It’s challenging to do, but it’s a skill you can learn. Naming that negative, self-doubting voice allows you to push it out of your mind so you can focus on the positive ones. Public speaking coach and author of “Get Off My Bus!: How to Get Clarity, Get in the Driver’s Seat, and Get Moving in Your Life!” Robin J. Sacks shares her methods on how she trains others to become effective public speakers. Robin has coached teams at Microsoft and Panera, where she held development training sessions to educate them on gaining the confidence they need to speak in front of others. The strategy remains the same whether on zoom or with a live audience. Listen to her tips today on the One Big Tip Podcast.
A public speaking coach for the past 16 years, Robin’s career began in the news industry. As an emcee experiencing a bit of burnout, Robin warmed up the crowd by telling them funny anecdotes about the industry. One of which was to listen to what the newscaster didn’t say. The newscaster never focused on the positive because it simply wasn’t newsworthy. On the other hand, the negative was attention-grabbing. It was headline material. The problem was that people started to see only the negative, and it transferred to all other parts of life. Robin realized she had tapped into something people needed to hear. Help others see the world differently than they were accustomed to. Teach people how to see the value in themselves, so Robin set out on a mission to help others be comfortable speaking in public forums.
Being human, we all worry about what others think. That has to change. Being memorable is how we connect with people. By adding value to the world and serving people, we become memorable. Standing in front of an audience and grabbing their attention is memorable. Confident public speaking is what brings you there. Most people don’t realize the amount of public speaking they do daily. Every time they open their mouth, and words fall out, that’s public speaking unless you make it a habit to talk to yourself in a room with the door shut and no one else around.
What’s more, most of the day, when you are public speaking, you’re being your authentic self, not putting on airs. Most of the time, we don’t pre-think what we will say, to the contrary, we’re ad-libbing. That’s the part of you that brings confidence to the stage in front of a crowd. Be authentic, and people will gravitate to you.
The other stumbling block most people face when it comes to public speaking is overthinking the process. If they could stop the runaway train of negative thoughts they are telling themselves, public speaking wouldn’t be such a stressful experience for them. One tactic Robin teaches is not to be so egocentric. When you’re on stage, and the spotlight is on you, you feel the pressure that everyone is watching your every move. The truth is that no one is paying as much attention to you as you are. Changing that mindset and realizing that you have value, and need to be yourself, is a tremendous mental shift that alleviates the stress of speaking to a crowd.
How do you initiate the mindset change? According to Robin, you need to name your bully. Once you name that negative voice in your head, it’s easier to confront it and shut it down. Leaving space for the part of your mind that realizes you have value to offer, believing in what you say. A lot of time, we believe everything we think. The more you hear the positive voice, the more confident you become, and then that confident voice gets louder. It’s a positive cycle that begins with the right mindset.
When you start paying attention to what you say to yourself, you’ll realize that all the negativity is not valid or truthful. They are the fears and insecurities you have. When you can see that, it’s easy to ignore them. When you quiet the negativity, you lose the overwhelm.
Everyone presents better when they are relaxed. That’s the key to being an excellent public speaker.
Use Robin’s strategy the next time you are on a zoom call or need to give a presentation and feel the difference positive self-talk can make.