If you are in sales, any kind of sales, there is one skill you can learn that will have a powerful effect on all your other skills for selling. And when you realize in almost every interaction you have with others, you are selling something at some level. An idea, your point of view, a behavior that you want others to perform. Whether you are going to convince that gorgeous woman to come over to your place for dinner, or persuade your kids to finish their homework before watching TV, you are selling something.
And there is one powerful skill that can dramatically help you in all aspects of this. That, of course, is public speaking. I’m sure you know that public speaking is the number one fear of people today. Almost everybody dreads the idea of being called up to speak. If you’ve ever had to give a toast, or even introduce somebody to large group of people, you know how nerve wracking it can be. Overcoming public speaking fear can be the singularly most beneficial decision you can make. It will increase your self-confidence, increase your self-esteem, and give you much more clarity of thought when choosing your words during normal, every day conversations.
And if you are in an honest to goodness sales job, where you have to put yourself in front of people day in and day out, overcoming the anxiety of public speaking can do wonders for your closing ratio. It’s a well-known fact that giving talks on a regular basis, regardless of what business you are in can do wonders for your income.
So how does one go about reducing public speaking fears? How can you banish public speaking anxiety once and for all? There are two ways to approach this. One is through various forms of mental imagery and visualization, training your brain to think of speaking in a different way, so it doesn’t cause you the anxiety that it might have before. These can be a wonderful way to make it feel easy and natural to not only feel comfortable giving public speeches, but to look forward to doing them as well.
One way to do this is to imagine the feeling you will get when you finish your speech, and you can hear the applause of the audience. Really get a good picture in your mind of what that looks like, sounds like, and feels like. Practice imagining that on a regular basis, until that thought becomes second nature, and not whatever thought you used to think that gave you the problems.
Another mental trick is to imagine the benefit the audience will receive from your speech. How will it help them? How can they use the information? When you think in terms of this, you will be less likely to imagine them judging and scrutinizing you, and more likely to imagine them thankful to you for doing them favor by sharing your unique information with them.
The second way of extinguishing your public speaking anxiety once and for all is to simply speak as often as possible. Every time you think of speaking, and grow anxious, and then get out of speaking, it reinforces the thought that public speaking is dangerous. When you begin to speak in public as often as possible, anywhere were there are people within earshot that don’t know you, you will gain confidence. Anywhere you can do this will work. Talking to strangers in line at the supermarket, making an announcement at the dinner table at home, if you have a large family, volunteering at your church. Toastmaster is a great place to practice these skills in a friendly, supportive environment.
When you combine the mental tricks outlined above, and the habit of speaking as often as possible, any fear or anxiety you have associated with public speaking will quickly vanish, and your skills of selling and persuading will skyrocket, not to mention your self-confidence and self-esteem. Learning to feel comfortable while speaking in public can very well be one of the greatest, and cheapest, self improvement and self-development programs at your disposal.