Do you believe that life is about learning and sharing?
Well, that’s one of the things that I strongly believe in, and that’s why I’m always ready to explore new things.
I’ve always considered myself an introvert, but with time, I realized that no one is a perfect introvert or a perfect extrovert. It depends upon the situation, the place, and the people we are with.
With certain people, we are very comfortable sharing everything, and with other people, we don’t have much to add to the interaction. The latter brings out the introvert, and the former highlights the extrovert.
That’s one reason why I always suggest you find and hang out with like-minded people.
This post is not related to discussing introverted or extroverted characteristics; instead, I will tell you about how I toned-down my naturally introverted nature to become a public speaker.
In the past three years, I have given many workshops/seminars on various topics (some with over 200 attendees). Some include:
- “Starting A Blog To Make Money” in Mohali, India
- “How Small Businesses Can Start A Blog For Growth” @ Reseller’s Club Hosting Summit 2013
- “WordPress SEO In 50 Minutes” @ WordCamp, Baroda
- Video Message For Pakistan Entrepreneur Summit
- IBM Business Connect, Panel Discussion, Goa, India
- “Influencer Marketing” @ Socialathon 2015
- Lovely Professional University in 2014
- “Leveraging Affiliate Marketing To Grow Businesses” @ Digital Business Conclave, New Delhi, India
- India Affiliate Summit 2015, New Delhi, India
- India Affiliate Summit 2016, New Delhi, India
- “Growth Hacking Affiliate Earnings” @ Affiliate Summit West, Las Vegas, USA (January 2017)
Even though I love adventure sports, public speaking is something I would have never imagined I would enjoy, even in my wildest dreams.
So let me share how I learned to ditch the fear and enjoy public speaking. There are many takeaways & valuable tips here for you. Go grab a cup of coffee & learn something solid today!
How I Started Public Speaking with Zero Experience
So you probably already know that I simply enjoy sharing what I’m learning via my blogs, while at the same time making money.
For anyone who loves to write and help people, blogging is definitely a great career. But it also comes with responsibilities- like being asked to speak in public.
My first public speaking experience happened in 2013 when a blogger contacted me to be a keynote speaker at a blogging event happening in Mohali, and I realize this could be a good reason for me to try something new.
Since I had almost one month until the presentation, I prepared and learned how to fight against stage fright.
The presentation turned out to be better than I imagined, and after a couple of months, another friend asked me to give a workshop at the Reseller’s Club Hosting Summit (Asia’s biggest hosting summit), and I gladly accepted his offer.
This time, I made the silly mistake of being over-confident, and I didn’t prepare in front of the camera like I did the last time. Surprisingly, the workshop turned out to be great for many attendees (based on feedback), but I was not happy with my own performance and negligence for not practising.
In 2014, Baroda WordCamp organizers asked me to become a speaker, and that was something I didn’t want to miss for various reasons.
For starters, I love WordCamp. The first time I ever attended (January 2009), I got the insights necessary to shape my career as a professional blogger.
Secondly, I knew that there were going to be many newbies there with great enthusiasm that just needed to be pushed along the right path, and I felt like I could be the one to push them.
The hard part was deciding on the topic for the seminar, but I decided to pick “WordPress SEO”.
Well, it’s almost impossible to teach WordPress SEO to anyone in 50 minutes, but I tried my best to make it targeted for both beginners & intermediate bloggers.
Oh boy! What a day that was! I had such a great experience speaking at WordCamp Baroda. I believe this was one of those speaking gigs that changed my career as a speaker.
After that, I spoke at many national & international forums. You can find a list of most of my appearances here.
To be honest, after the first few appearances, I became pretty confident. But it was my last session when I started getting nervous & worried.
I was about to speak at Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas, USA. It was my first ever international solo speaking engagement & the audience was completely new.
However, it turned out pretty smooth & I recently just got the feedback from my session.
Well, this kind of feedback is priceless as I now know which particular areas I need to work on. With this last one, I’m so happy to join the league of people who have spoken internationally. It’s indeed a good feeling.
So enough about me. What can you do to start your career as a public speaker?
Before we dive in, remember this one rule:
- A good speaker never differentiates between an audience count of 1 or 1 million.
- Time is money, so make it count.
1. Make Your Own Slides
It doesn’t matter if you are a CEO or just an account manager of a company if you are going to be speaking at a seminar, or a workshop, or even in your office meeting, ensure you make your own slides.
If you don’t have enough time to make your own slides, ensure that you at least work out a complete rough draft of your slides.
This will ensure that you maintain a flow of information while giving your presentation, and get rid of the “Ummm”, and “humm”, and all of the awkward pauses.
2. Add Humor When It’s Needed
One great tip to keeping your audience engaged is to add in humour when it’s necessary.
Adding in humour will make you and your presentation much more entertaining.
If you are speaking on a technical topic, try to make it understandable with a humanly-relatable approach (and humour will help with this).
Add in some jokes, and keep the mood light.
3. Dress Appropriately
Non-verbal communication, like body language, vocal tone, and style of dress matters a lot when you are on stage.
You don’t have to wear a thousand dollar suit to leave an impression, but you need to wear something which makes you look more authentic and professional. This will make you feel more confident and make your audience more receptive to what you have to say.
4. Take Questions Seriously
I love the questions after my presentations! They’re what make me believe that people genuinely listened to everything I said. And as a speaker, you should pay serious attention to the questions coming your way.
Remember that the people asking the questions are not the only ones you’re addressing. Some people may have the same question, but they’re just too shy to step up to the mic. Whenever a question comes in (on-stage), ensure that you repeat the questions, ensure that everyone is paying attention, and then answer the question insightfully and with wisdom.
If any of the questions are off-topic or require more time to explain, you should tell the asker to come up to you after the event and talk with you.
Overcoming The Fear Of Public Speaking
If you feel shy about speaking in public (stage presentations or giving workshops) but you still want to do it, today is the right day to start.
Start with your laptop or smartphone camera and record yourself while talking about something you are knowledgeable about. Once you are done speaking, watch your recorded video and notice your facial expressions, your tone, your body language, your movements, and listen to the words you did or didn’t use properly.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even show it to a friend to see what they have to say about your performance.
Now, repeat the process 2-3 more times and seek to improve upon each of your problem areas each time.
Continue this practice until you are a master public speaker!
What kinds of things do you recommend for public speaking? What are your techniques for giving a good presentation? Have you ever had to give a speech? Let me know your thoughts and experiences in the comments section.
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Just in case you are in the mood to learn some things, here are some videos of my public appearances: