I can remember being a cheerleader in school and was super nervous to be out in front of everyone. To overcome the fear, I decided I wouldn’t wear my glasses whenever we had to go out on the floor. If I couldn’t see anyone- only blurs and shapes, that would make things so much easier!
It is not uncommon for people to deal with speech anxiety. While some are more comfortable based on certain criteria, such as familiarity with the audience, when it comes to speaking to a virtual audience, other factors come into play. In a world where you’re being pushed to make your voice heard, it can be very unnerving thinking about speaking to an audience. And an audience you can’t see, at that. How do you overcome the fear of public speaking?
Practice, practice, practice!
Nervousness is good. It’s normal. If you’re speaking to an audience and aren’t nervous something is wrong – or you’ve been doing it for a REALLY long time. However, with regular practice, you learn how to handle your nerves and use them to your benefit.
One of my favorite ways of practicing for public speaking is through BlogTalkRadio. It’s free to create an account, doesn’t require special equipment, and there’s no wait period, you can get started right away!
The beauty of using BlogTalkRadio as your training ground for public speaking is that it serves two purposes. In the process of getting comfortable with public virtual speaking, you also have an opportunity to attract people who may have never heard of you.
BlogTalkRadio is like a television network with scheduled shows all throughout the day. People can search various categories to find shows that interest them. With a scheduled time-slot, you create a deadline that requires you show up live and present your show. Your show can be 15 minutes to 30 minutes long.
You may be thinking you could just use a tool or software to record myself, instead of diving into a live show. You could, but there’s no set time you must show up and nothing to hold you accountable. Using BlogTalkRadio to practice for your next online event, you take advantage of technology made available to help you get your message out there while getting comfortable with a virtual audience.
Transcribe and practice some more!
Once you’ve done several shows, have a virtual assistant transcribe them for you. This will help you see what filler words you use, and you can start practicing to speak without them. This includes those um’s and uh’s, as well as sussing out if you are using the same word(s)over and over again. When I went through this process, I learned that I say the word ‘so’ a lot. Instead of starting a new sentence, I take a breath and say so. There’s no way I would have paid attention to that if it weren’t for the time I spent on BlogTalkRadio.
The goal of the transcription is not to turn you into a robotic speaking machine, but it can certainly help make you be the best possible ‘you’ while speaking. There’s nothing wrong with a mistake here or there. They work in your favor letting people know you’re a real person on the other end of the line.
This technique is one step on the road to learning how to overcome your nerves when speaking in front of a virtual audience. If you launch a BlogTalkRadio show, be sure to let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you have to say!