Is your mindset holding you back from being an effective public speaker?
A mindset is a belief that orients the way we handle situations – including public speaking.
You may have all the technical skills in place, but a fixed or negative mindset will most likely hold you back from feeling confident and delivering your message effectively.
For example, if you have a fixed mindset around your speaking ability, such as: “I am just not good at speaking to large groups”, this is going to limit your curiosity around ways you can improve. Whereas if your mindset is: “Public speaking is another skill I am working on and improving!”, then you will be more likely to seek out opportunities to practice and speak, and therefore, improve.
I truly believe in cultivating strong, useful mindsets for being successful as a speaker. This is what I focus on with my clients, it’s a large part of my group coaching program, and it’s also why I based my entire Overcome Public Speaking Anxiety course on mindset!
In this episode, I share 5 powerful mindsets you can adopt to supercharge your public speaking ability. These mindsets are:
1: It’s not about me, it’s about my audience
A common reason people get speaking anxiety is because they make it all about themselves. Think about your inner dialogue. Does it go something like:
“What if I mess up?”
“I need to impress my manager!”
“I hope I look smart!”
“I need to be perfect otherwise they will judge me”
All of these thoughts scream me me me. In reality, your presentation is NOT about you. And your audience doesn’t care about you. They only care about themselves. Sounds harsh, but it’s true. Most audiences want to know “What’s in it for me?” They don’t care about your nerves or fear or insecurities. They have their own issues and insecurities to worry about!
To shift this mindset, think about what is in it for the audience. How will THEY get the most from the presentation? How can we help THEM feel comfortable and connected? How can we address THEIR problems and concerns?
I go deeper into ‘making it all about your audience’ in last week’s episode (180). Listen below.
2: My message is a gift
The wonderful and talented Fleassy Malay, who joined us in episode 153, taught me this. Think about your presentation as a beautiful gift you have lovingly prepared for your audience. If you wanted to give a gift to a dear friend, would you run up, mumble “I have something for you here you go ok bye!” and then run away? Of course not!
Yet, this is how many of us deliver a message. We get up, rush through it, run off the stage thinking “That goodness that’s over!” But it doesn’t deliver your message with the true gravitas and impact it deserves.
By seeing our message as a ‘gift’, we take more care in presenting it wholeheartedly. We are proud and bring more meaning to the message. We are more connected to our message, and therefore, to our audience.
3: This presentation is an opportunity
When you think of delivering a presentation, how do you think about it? Do you think “Ugghh I have to do this awful thing because my boss says I need to!”?
This negative mindset does not serve you. Instead, view your presentation as an incredible opportunity to learn and grow! Even mistakes are opportunities to learn and improve.
If this is something you struggle with, I recommend you read Carol Dweck’s book Mindset, or listen to podcast episode 114 with Matt Baker around growth / fixed mindset.
4: I am having a conversation
One of my clients wanted to share a story at an important presentation, but was struggling with making it sound natural. She was reading from her notes and anxious about ‘saying the right thing’.
We helped her to overcome this by shifting her mindset from “I am presenting to a large corporate audience” to “I am having a conversation over coffee with a dear friend”. When she made this shift, the change in her was dramatic! Her energy picked up, she smiled, and she became 10 times more engaging.
So instead of thinking about your presentation as a “speech to deliver”, think of it as “a conversation with a dear friend” and see the impact it makes!
5: My vulnerability is strength
So many of us try extremely hard to be ‘perfect’ when we speak. Because, if we don’t make a mistake, then we can’t possibly be judged, right?
The problem with this is, there is no such thing as a perfect presentation. AND, as we have learned from the wonderful work of Brene Brown:
“The difficult thing is that vulnerability is the first thing I look for in you and the last thing I’m willing to show you. In you, it’s courage and daring. In me, it’s weakness.”
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
So learn to be ok with being vulnerable. Share personal stories, show your audience you are human, just like them, rather than a flawless mechanical robot. Remember, it may feel like exposing a weakness, but to your audience, it’s strength.
What mindset will you adopt for your next presentation? Join the conversation and post your answer over on Facebook, in our group The C Method Rockstars. We can’t wait to meet you!