Public Speaking - can it be a Friend rather than Foe

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Hey guys, looking to get into the public speaking niche and am planning an interview series with a number of 'gurus' to kick start an agenda and hopefully get lots of juicy information for content creation.

I was wondering what you all think are the biggest barriers holding people back in terms of delivering speeches, presentations, sales pitches etc. It could range from going to job interviews, wedding speeches, seminars, work presentations, work events. Even being able to hold a conversation with a car mechanic confidently...

It seems there is a fear of embarrassment, ridicule or rejection when the idea of speaking to a number of your peers is discussed but if you had an expert to guide you what would be the most important questions to ask first to overcome this 'fear' and why do you think that is?

Hope I've made the above clear and looking forward to engaging with you in response!
Thanks,
TooManyDiscoBalls
#foe #friend #public #speaking
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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    Originally Posted by Neill Robertson View Post

    Hey guys, looking to get into the public speaking niche and am planning an interview series with a number of 'gurus' to kick start an agenda and hopefully get lots of juicy information for content creation.

    I was wondering what you all think are the biggest barriers holding people back in terms of delivering speeches, presentations, sales pitches etc. It could range from going to job interviews, wedding speeches, seminars, work presentations, work events. Even being able to hold a conversation with a car mechanic confidently...

    It seems there is a fear of embarrassment, ridicule or rejection when the idea of speaking to a number of your peers is discussed but if you had an expert to guide you what would be the most important questions to ask first to overcome this 'fear' and why do you think that is?

    Hope I've made the above clear and looking forward to engaging with you in response!
    Thanks,
    TooManyDiscoBalls
    Bad news is, your timing sucks. Events, speakers, presentations CANCELLED, CANCELLED, CANCELLED.

    States limiting the number of people, and some at zero, who are allowed to be wandering around. So, you might want to rethink this for now.

    Good news, Zoom, Webinars, YouTube videos, and all things live digital will be booming and are. So, presentation skills are needed and could be taught remotely, so that might be a better path for now.

    GordonJ
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  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    Originally Posted by Neill Robertson View Post

    I was wondering what you all think are the biggest barriers holding people back in terms of delivering speeches, presentations, sales pitches etc.
    What other people might think or say - that's it - there is nothing else. Fear of rejection - which honestly is a part of selling - a fear of being laughed at - it all comes down to self confidence and not giving a F
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    • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
      Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

      What other people might think or say - that's it - there is nothing else. Fear of rejection - which honestly is a part of selling - a fear of being laughed at - it all comes down to self confidence and not giving a F
      I like the Mark Manson version of not giving a F.

      Here is the problem, how to get there. 2% maybe have a mental diagnosis, like narcissist or extreme hedonism. So they don't care.

      The rest of us are hard wired to care about what other's think of us, first for our own safety while under the care of an adult, and then to fit in with the tribe.

      It takes a CONSCIOUS effort, which for many, is harder to achieve than led to believe.

      Overcoming ego and self is difficult, not easy at all.

      Getting laughed at is one of the most traumatic events in a person's life, consider the 10 year old boy in school with a speech problem or a stutter, and is poor and wears the same clothes day after day...that laughter hurts deep and very few young people have the ability to say GO F OFF to their peer group.

      And since many don't ever grow beyond the young adult they were, it isn't a surprise that the FEAR of being laughed at is real, and can't be casually dismissed with a STOP sign.

      It takes time and effort, but shedding the opinions, the thoughts of others is perhaps, the mountaintop of self actualization.

      But not giving a F IS a big secret to overcoming a lack of confidence.

      GordonJ
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post


        But not giving a F IS a big secret to overcoming a lack of confidence.

        GordonJ
        Another key is to know your subject thoroughly. I think the days of "I'm a speaker" are generally over. Now, you have to be an expert...who is also a speaker.

        Know so much about your subject that you cannot be stumped with questions. And know exactly what you are going to say. Know it so well that you can think of something else, and still deliver your talk. Being completely prepared goes a long way to help overcome fears.

        And...why are you interested in speaking? Are you selling something? Do you have a cause? You need some reason to get in front of a group. And they need a real compelling reason to listen to you.

        How would you get paid? If you want a speaking fee, you better have something great to share, something in demand.

        And...I have to say this...if you're still at the stage of "How do I get over my fear of getting in front of a group", you have a long way to go.

        If you wanted to be a dentist, would you ask "How do I get over my fear of teeth?"?
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        • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
          Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

          Another key is to know your subject thoroughly. I think the days of "I'm a speaker" are generally over. Now, you have to be an expert...who is also a speaker.

          Know so much about your subject that you cannot be stumped with questions. And know exactly what you are going to say. Know it so well that you can think of something else, and still deliver your talk. Being completely prepared goes a long way to help overcome fears.

          And...why are you interested in speaking? Are you selling something? Do you have a cause? You need some reason to get in front of a group. And they need a real compelling reason to listen to you.

          How would you get paid? If you want a speaking fee, you better have something great to share, something in demand.

          And...I have to say this...if you're still at the stage of "How do I get over my fear of getting in front of a group", you have a long way to go.

          If you wanted to be a dentist, would you ask "How do I get over my fear of teeth?"?
          Hate me some dentites (a SEINFELD reference) having had two impacted wisdom teeth extracted, and having dry socket and complications which has made acute pain a chronic condition without relief...but, good point. (any reference to teeth right now makes me queasy).

          ^^^^^^^^^tHIS, Claude's brilliant post. Just a note. There is one thing, which you can speak about with GREAT CONFIDENCE and AUTHORITY, and without the fear of ever not knowing what to say...

          is YOU. Your life, your story....

          that is, if it is relevant to the audience and their wants, needs, purpose for being in the audience. I also agree the heyday of the platform speaker is behind us, although TED and TedX talks were doing well before the Pandemic.

          If I sat with you for a week, read everything about you, listened to all your stories, I still couldn't do a talk with confidence about YOU.

          Knowing that going on to the stage, that there is NO one in the audience with your unique experiences is a confidence builder...and then have enough work under your belt on the HOW to so it comes off great. As always, I love the TOASTMASTERS, one fo the best programs I think everyone should at least get into for one cycle.

          Listen to Claude. He knows what he is talking about.

          GordonJ
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          • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
            Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post

            is YOU. Your life, your story....

            that is, if it is relevant to the audience and their wants, needs, purpose for being in the audience. I also agree the heyday of the platform speaker is behind us, although TED and TedX talks were doing well before the Pandemic.

            If I sat with you for a week, read everything about you, listened to all your stories, I still couldn't do a talk with confidence about YOU.

            Knowing that going on to the stage, that there is NO one in the audience with your unique experiences is a confidence builder...and then have enough work under your belt on the HOW to so it comes off great. As always, I love the TOASTMASTERS, one fo the best programs I think everyone should at least get into for one cycle.

            GordonJ
            There are a couple of Ideas here.

            Some people are interested in getting into public speaking as a hobby. They don't get paid, and they speak locally.

            Some have a personal story to tell. Let's say that you had cancer and now it's gone. Who wants to hear your story about cancer? Your struggle? Even for free?

            If you are a celebrity, people want to see you, and it doesn't matter what you say,

            Some people use speaking to promote their business. And to them, speaking is advertising. Most of these people speak for free, or very small fees.

            Some are experts and they speak to teach. They are being paid for the knowledge they impart, and the results they can produce.

            And some, like me, are selling something from the stage. A product or service. And to us, speaking is selling. Speaking is media.

            But you have to know what you're going to talk about, that people are very interested to hear...not what you are interested in talking about....but what they are wanting to hear.
            A life story? something has to be connected to that. Do you talk about the Civil War? Are you a celebrity (or person from history) impersonator?

            If you want to be a speaker you need two things....something to say that yu just have to say to many people at once...and an audience that really wants to hear it.

            You also need a way to gather this group together...the single hardest and most expensive part of this.

            For example, getting people to show up for a small local event...if you put it on yourself, may cost you $50 a person. Plus the cost of the event. Plus the advertising of the event.

            And something that nobody wants to hear. Speaking is more...way more...than just talking and telling a few jokes. Do you have compelling stories? Are you a compelling narrator? Is your subject in demand? Can you sell your ideas? Speaking is group selling of your ideas. If that scares you, you should find something else to do. If that idea excites you, maybe it's worth the effort.
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  • Profile picture of the author umc
    I've spoken publicly in a number of ways, raised in a cult that forced much of that. Did it help me? I guess, in ways. Did it help everyone? Nope. Some always struggled with it.

    You're not going to get better if you don't get out there and push yourself past your comfort zone. Courage isn't doing something without the presence of fear, courage is feeling the fear and doing it anyway. I've done a lot of that in my life. The more that I did it, the better it felt. I don't think it is ever natural for me as if I got away from it the fear would well up and become nearly paralyzing again. I'm not naturally wired to be in the spotlight. I know that I can though if needed.

    I think that a great way to start speaking today is to enter the world of podcasting. You aren't immediately faced with an audience but you know that someone out there will listen and that rejection is possible. You have to share what you create, your "art", that piece of you, and to see that it is okay. As you continue to do that you'll gain more confidence and you may be able to take another step.

    You might then take a step into creating videos on YouTube or something similar in today's world. There are so many opportunities to baby step your way into broader and broader public speaking. You could even do live videos as you gain more confidence.

    I've been in front of up to 15,000 people. The larger the group, the easier I found it. The smaller and more intimate the group, the more nervous I became. Again, everyone will have their own experiences.

    Like Claude said above, speaking involves much more than what I've mentioned here as far as methodologies of getting yourself out there and finding your starting point. You need to have something compelling to offer and something that is authentic. If you're not sold on the story or the subject matter doesn't mean anything to you it will be exponentially more difficult. That matters whether you're talking to thousands of people at once or sitting in front of a potential employer in a one on one situation.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by umc View Post

      I've spoken publicly in a number of ways, raised in a cult that forced much of that. Did it help me? I guess, in ways. Did it help everyone? Nope. Some always struggled with it.
      I grew up in a religious cult as well.

      There are two groups of speakers that I missed. thanks for reminding me.

      Corporate CEOs that speak to employees, and people who speak to their church members.

      These are people speaking to captive audiences. I know more about the CEOs, so I'll talk about them. Most are terrible speakers and hate it. But it's part of their job, and so they do it. And they invariably get standing ovations for their efforts. Here is why...ovations are free, and there is an element of "make the boss happy' that goes with corporate culture.

      Occasionally these guys think that the ovations they are getting is because they have great skills on stage. So they try to get booked by a speakers bureau (a company that books paid speakers for events, for a percentage of the fee).

      But usually, they can't get booked outside their company, because they have no transferable message, and no real talent.

      I can't tell you how many guys have said to me, after they heard me speak on stage "I want to do what you do. I can tell jokes"...and they think that's all there is to it. Be funny, make people laugh...get paid.

      But they don't know the work that went into it...the months writing a speech that sells....the weeks of practice...the editing, rewriting.....

      It reminds me of the people that watch a great stand up comedian, and think they can do the same thing because they told funny jokes in high school. But very...very few people ever make any money is stand up, or in speaking.

      If it's a hobby, then there are plenty of opportunities. But being paid thousands of dollars...or selling thousands of dollars of services from the stage? Very...very...rare.

      But if you want t speak to the Rotary club....that's pretty easy.
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  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    I would probably qualify in Claude's definition as a hobby speaker of sorts. I speak a lot. Most of my speaking is an educational environment - and that is my strength. I speak for 10 15 minutes on a subject and then open to Q&A. Be it for a 2nd grade class up to College level, and then some of my semi scheduled meetups where I help clients and non clients with things like WordPress and social media etc.

    All of these things I do not get paid for.. BUT it pays itself in spades in the long run. The only "Sales Speaking" I do in general is one on one with the occasional board meeting type setting - in both cases I lean towards the education process vs a selling process.

    I have built a business of education.. that happens to provide services. Nothing better for me than to walk into a business speak with the owner and make suggestions like Hey you need a site or hey your need social marketing or more recently in the last few days hey you need to get connected with UberEats.

    I will openly explain what they might think of doing.. and then might offer then or come back and offer an invite with my team and a bunch of other business owners at the corner coffee shop at 6pm if they have any questions. Basically you ask and I will answer - or a member of my team.

    My sales process is a continual stream of building trust and Authority. I don't have to sell - a potential client sees the line in the sand between them doing themselves and hiring someone to do it... I don't get them all at that point... but I sure do get a huge chunk of them.

    Have / had 3 2 hour slots of 5 people each this evening ( had one already ) about connecting their food service business up to UberEats so they can in essence keep their business open through the current situation.. and educate on the social advertising that needs to be done to make this work. I have closed 20 new clients and 40 existing clients in the last 3 days.

    Knowledge of a problem, and the ability to educate and deploy an answer to the problem is the life blood of ANY service oriented business. All because I don't give a F LOL

    Leads me to "I Don't Give A F" it is without question a learned ability - no question about that. I think a LOT of it has to do with talking the talk, and having the ability to put the steps in to walk the walk. You simply can not sell a service to develop a website if you have never built one - I say that is flat out STUPID. You cant go out and sell leads if you have never gotten leads - STUPID... or Hey ill do SEO and you have not a clue and think you will source it out, not knowing outsourcing 9 out of 10 times will only do what you tell them to - STUPID.

    You have to K N O W - before you don't give AF.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post


      My sales process is a continual stream of building trust and Authority. I don't have to sell
      .

      With respect, that's selling at a high level. Nearly all top salespeople eventually learn this truth. We all just arrive at this reality from different paths.

      A survey was done of 30,000 sales reps. the top 10% of the reps, in terms of production had two things in common. They worked almost exclusively by referrals, and they were seen as a Trusted Advisers by their clients.

      With those two facts in mind..

      These top 10% of reps earn half the commissions. The bottom 90% share the other half, making the top 10% averaging 9 times the earnings of the average in the lower 90%.

      And the top 10% are seeing 80% of all the referrals, and the other 90% are sharing the other 20% of the referrals.

      That's the biggest differences between the top people, and everyone else.

      I'm almost done writing a sales training program teaching these ideas (among others). But are you ready? These two ideas, referral selling, and becoming a trusted adviser are two of the ideas that are the hardest to sell to sales reps.


      Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

      You have to K N O W - before you don't give AF.
      I want to address this idea of "Not giving a Fock". It will generally be misunderstood by newer people.

      It does not mean to not care about the customer...or not care about selling.

      It means not being emotionally attached to the outcome. You still have to do everything in your power to make a sale happen, if the prospect has a legitimate need you can help them with.

      It means not depending on this one sale to make you feel like a winner. It means having built up your competence to a point where nobody intimidates you.

      New people will think this means "I don't give a rat's ass". But that comes out of ignorance and incompetence. Not being emotionally tied to an outcome means your self image and real...actual...competence and knowledge base are vast. Ten times more than you'll ever need.
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      • Profile picture of the author savidge4
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        With respect, that's selling at a high level. Nearly all top salespeople eventually learn this truth. We all just arrive at this reality from different paths.
        I didn't even stumble apon it... it has been a natural state of being... I get told all the time I should have been a teacher - even at an early age. And the truth is in sales - the general consensus is TEACHING is a waste of time, when you should be selling.

        Don't get me wrong I still Cold Call as in one call with a defined purpose kind of calls.. but more regionally it is a pretty refined process of steps to fall into the sales process.

        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        I want to address this idea of "Not giving a Fock". It will generally be misunderstood by newer people.

        It does not mean to not care about the customer...or not care about selling.

        It means not being emotionally attached to the outcome. You still have to do everything in your power to make a sale happen, if the prospect has a legitimate need you can help them with.

        It means not depending on this one sale to make you feel like a winner. It means having built up your competence to a point where nobody intimidates you.

        New people will think this means "I don't give a rat's ass". But that comes out of ignorance and incompetence. Not being emotionally tied to an outcome means your self image and real...actual...competence and knowledge base are vast. Ten times more than you'll ever need.
        It is good you pointed this out.. because not giving AF is played out exactly opposite to the client or potential client... I OVER care... My personal success... my Business' success plays out on THEIR success. Its NOT how much I make... its how much I make for them.

        Not giving AF is more about understanding who and what is a perfect fit - and going and going until that criteria is met. For me the perfect fit is not a fat wallet, its about the relationship.
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  • Profile picture of the author jujai
    Thank you all for your advices, I like this tread
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  • Profile picture of the author JPs copy
    One of my buddies does stand-up at a local club near us. He's pretty funny and has good stage presence. He's told me a few times that just before he goes on, he gets nervous. But once he gets on stage, he relaxes and lets the jokes flow.

    Bottom line is don't get in your own head too much.
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