For so many of us, Public Speaking can be very challenging. I still remember the first time I went up on stage. I was 14 years old and my teacher asked me to speak during our school assembly. It was scary, mind-numbing and an out of the world experience. It was as if the world had stopped and all the attention on the planet was concentrated on me. Of course, that was years ago. Today, I have spoken to audiences around the world on various social, educational and corporate platforms. All of this happened after years of hustle, practice and persistence.
Although my journey was full of ups and downs, it was worth taking. Today when I look back at all those Public Speeches I ruined; I feel so proud of myself. Whether you are new to public speaking, or have spent some time in this journey, I will break down 5 important steps that one needs to take in order to become a speaker that does not only speak with confidence, but with authenticity, clarity and impact. I call these speakers – Outstanding Speakers.
Step 1: Find your ‘Why’
This is probably the most important step in building Public Speaking Skills because the journey to become an outstanding speaker takes years. I have been public speaking from last 10 years and there are still a hundred things that I can improve. One cannot learn Public Speaking just with one course, a few speeches or even with one Mentor/Coach. The idea that it takes a good amount of time brings forth a very important conclusion – every one will not be able to get awesome on stage. Only people who have a strong reason and desire to learn, grow and excel can do it.
Most often people have the following reasons to become Outstanding Speakers:
1. Accelerate their careers
2. Build credibility and personal brand
3. Build a positive self-esteem
4. Boost Self-Confidence
5. Influence and Inspire other people
6. Gain Personal Power
What is your reason to become an Outstanding Speaker?
Step 2: Accept and Evaluate
Great things happen when you accept your flaws and be kind to yourself. Step 2 is about understanding why you haven’t taken an action towards becoming a speaker yet. If you have never spoken in public, accept that it’s okay to start from scratch. Every outstanding speaker was once a beginner and that is where we all start.
If you have already begun, evaluating your strengths and weaknesses is a great way to understand what are the areas that need more attention. Whether it is your body language, stage usage, speech structure, voice modulation or whether it is the overuse of fillers. This helps you identify specific learning goals. You can also reach out to a professional to evaluate yourself. I do a 40 minute one-to-one session at a very affordable price where I help people identify and pin point this exactly.
Step 3: Join a Community of Speakers
Spend your time with 5 idiots and you will become the 6th. This is true for speakers too. Are you networking with other speakers? Are you spending time with other people on the same journey as you? There are a lot of profitable and non-profit communities out there that organize weekly/monthly meetings where you can go and give a public speech. The more times you do it, the more comfortable you get on stage.
I suggest joining a community of speakers for 3 major reasons:
1. Network with other speakers
2. Find a safe place to practice
3. Learn from others
Step 4: Find a Mentor/Coach
While practicing a skill over and over helps you perfect it, the same is true for mistakes. If you repeat the same mistakes in Public Speaking over and over, you’ll perfect them and it will be even more challenging to unlearn them. Finding a Mentor/Coach will help you find the right guidance and support to ace your Public Speaking skills. I have never met an Outstanding Speaker who doesn’t owe his competency to a mentor or a Coach.
Every successful person has a mentor or a coach and I would suggest you too to find one. Someone who understands you, has gone through a similar journey and is excited to see you grow. If you haven’t found a mentor/coach yet, keep looking!
I provide attractive one-to-one Coaching packages where I help people learn the nitty-gritty of speaking, right up from having powerful body language to giving inspiring, persuasive or entertaining speeches. To know more, visit my website: www.akshatshrivastava.in
Step 5: Never Say ‘No’ to Speaking
This is by far the most exciting step where you give yourself more exposure by speaking at events, institutes and corporates. I have seen so many people, who withdraw from speaking for many different reasons. I never say no to speaking as long as it serves a purpose in my life. In fact, initially when I started speaking, I gave 20-30 mins talk for absolutely free. Today, I am at a stage where I charge money for speaking, but this happened because I did not stop myself for going in and giving my best. If I can, so can you! What are you waiting for?
Whether you are a working professional, an Entrepreneur or a student, the journey to becoming an outstanding speaker is very rewarding. It is filled with confidence, happiness and personal power. I personally think that this journey can clear a lot of your mental blocks and can transform your life completely. What do you think?