Tell me, do you get nervous speaking in public? If so, you certainly wouldn’t be alone. They say that public speaking is right up there with fear of heights and fear of spiders (ugh! spiders!)
As a health & wellness professional, you need to be perceived as an expert – and nothing says expert more than standing in front of an audience delivering a content and value rich workshop or talk.
In fact, even if you intend to run your business entirely online, delivering free talks and workshops is still one of THE best ways to get in front of your ideal client and begin to build your community – you just deliver the talk online!
But what if the thought of speaking absolutely terrifies you?!
Let me tell you a story about my husband, Chris. He’s a Chiropractor and since forever he has been freaked out by speaking in public. For years he refused to give talks, even though he could see how much it helped me grow my practice.
Last month Chris’ gym asked him if he’d speak at their open day. For some reason, he agreed.. and then came home to me in a panic to help him prepare!
I coached him through some of my top strategies for overcoming nerves so he felt more confident speaking in public.
After practicing his talk several times, off he went to present to a room of 30 people. And you know what happened?
9 of them are now his patients!! THAT is the power of a well executed workshop!
Getting over a Fear of Speaking in Public
While I actually LOVE speaking in public (yes, I know I’m not normal!) I still get nervous. And I also understand that most people get REALLY nervous and perhaps to the point where they avoid public speaking altogether.
So here are my Top 5 Tips:
- Be Prepared
Even though I love speaking to groups of people, I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t prepared.
I always practice delivering my talk at least once – and sometimes up to 3 times if it’s a new topic. Practicing will make you feel more familiar with the material and you will develop a good flow.
Watch TedTalks that you love and notice what exactly makes you love them. Notice how the speaker pauses at certain moments, their hand gestures and other body language. Become a student and study the speakers you admire.
2. Use Slides as a Prompter
Using slides like those made in Powerpoint can also be a huge help. All of the workshops I run have Powerpoint slides – because they help me feel organised and I don’t have to worry about what to say next.
Audiences tend to like some sort of visual as well and giving them somewhere else to look takes the pressure off of everyone looking at you. You could use flash cards or notes – whatever makes you feel most comfortable.
3. Anticipate Questions
Sometimes there’s an underlying fear of “not knowing enough” that can surface when you’re preparing a workshop or free talk. The worry that a curly question could be asked leaving you stumped sure can make you nervous.
To help with this, try to anticipate the questions your audience may ask. Think of the common questions you get in your practice – what are clients always asking? You could also brainstorm with a friend to see what they want to know about your topic. Then, prepare an outline for how you might answer each question.
And remember, if you DO get a tricky question on the day, you can always reply with,
“Great question! On the spot, I am not sure how to best answer that. Can you leave me your email address so that I can get back to you?”
4. It’s not about YOU
Whenever I get nervous about delivering a workshop, or even about writing a blog post like this one, I try to remind myself that this is not about me.
What I mean is, the reason I am doing this is to hopefully help someone else. What would happen if you didn’t deliver a workshop because of fear – and that meant someone didn’t hear your message and wasn’t helped?
If you change your focus to who you can help, it takes the pressure off. As they say, come from the heart and you can’t fail.
5. Change your Mindset
Fear and Excitement are the same emotion – it’s the same hormonal cascade – the difference is just our interpretation. So before you start your workshop (or IGTV video or Facebook Live), tell yourself “I am feeling so excited!” instead of focusing on how scared you are.
And remember, there are SO many great reasons to get up there and deliver a good workshop, including:
- Helping your audience overcome a challenge
- Positioning you as the expert on this topic
- Naturally helping you to sell your health programs or services
With so much online at the moment, this all applies to Webinars, Social Media Lives and even Instagram Reels too.