Simon Sinek has some 22 million video views under his belt and is the third most-watched
TED Talks presenter of all time. He is also naturally shy and doesn’t like speaking with crowds. How did he overcome his fear of public speaking? Here are a few of his tips:
Don’t start talking right away.
“A lot of people start talking right away, and it’s out of nerves,” Sinek says. “That communicates a little bit of insecurity and fear.” Instead, quietly walk out on stage. Then take a deep breath, find your place, wait a few seconds and begin. This shows your audience you are in control of the room and situation.
Show up to give, not to take
Often people give presentations to sell products or ideas, to get people to follow them on social media, buy their books or even just to like them. Sinek calls these kinds of speakers “takers,” and he says audiences can see through these people right away. And, when they do, they disengage.”We are highly social animals,” says Sinek. “Even at a distance on stage, we can tell if you’re a giver or a taker, and people are more likely to trust a giver — a speaker that gives them value, that teaches them something new, that inspires them — than a taker.”
Make eye contact
Look at specific audience members throughout your speech. If you can, give each person that you intently look at an entire sentence or thought, without breaking your gaze. When you finish a sentence, move on to another person and keep connecting with individual people until you’re done speaking.”It’s like you’re having a conversation with your audience,” says Sinek. “You’re not speaking at them, you’re speaking with them.”
Speak unusually slowly
When you get nervous, it’s not just your heart beat that quickens. Your words also tend to speed up. Luckily Sinek says audiences are more patient and forgiving than we know.
“They want you to succeed up there, but the more you rush, the more you turn them off,” he says. “If you just go quiet for a moment and take a long, deep breath, they’ll wait for you. It’s kind of amazing.”
Turn nervousness into excitement
Sinek learned this trick from watching the Olympics. A few years ago he noticed that reporters interviewing Olympic athletes before and after competing were all asking the same question. “Were you nervous?” And all of the athletes gave the same answer: “No, I was excited.” These competitors were taking the body’s signs of nervousness — clammy hands, pounding heart and tense nerves — and reinterpreting them as side effects of excitement and exhilaration.
Powerful Public Speaking Tips From One of the Most-Watched TED Talks Speakers by Kim Lachance Shandrow
Come along to our next South Coast Speakers Toastmasters meeting on Wednesday 25 July. We can help you overcome your speaking fears and help you on your path to becoming a more confident leader.