Although we can connect with others easily in private, many of us do not show the same skill when asked to give a public presentation. The good news is that even if you don’t have a natural talent for speaking, you can learn how to get over fear of public speaking. {Click to Tweet}

You might believe these three myths about public speaking:

  1. Great public speakers are skilled in speaking from birth.
  2. Great public speakers are extroverts who don’t get nervous.
  3. Great public speakers are smart people.

[Related: 5 Ways To Keep Your Cool During a Big Presentation]

Although you may not want to hear this, these statements aren’t accurate. Let’s adjust them to better reflect the strengths of excellent public speakers.

  1. Great public speakers have spent hours practicing their craft.
  2. Great public speakers get nervous but manage their anxiety.
  3. Great public speakers are perceived as smart people.

These changes will not happen instantaneously. To finely hone the art of public speaking, takes time, practice, and contemplation. {Click to Tweet}

[Related: 3 Steps For Conquering Public Speaking]

If you’re shy, how can you become a great public speaker? It’s easier than you may think. Use these five tips to get started.

1. Master your internal conversation.

Fear is normal before you start speaking publicly, but you need to move on from it to be successful. Comparing your work and yourself to others will only inhibit your success.

If you put yourself down before your presentation, you’ve already lost. You don’t have to be Oprah-level popular or as influential as Michelle Obama, but you need to trust in yourself first if want others to do the same.

[Related: Boost Your Confidence in 20 Minutes]

2. Clarify your message.

When you are speaking, who is your audience? Are you trying to persuade them, educate them, or entertain them?

No matter who your audience is, keeping your topic simple and organized will make it easier for them to understand.

A lot of college graduates and professionals think that they need to impress their bosses or clients with big words when really, expressing themselves simply and clearly is more effective. Your message will be stronger if it is clearer, and sometimes less is more.

So clear your mind of any distractions. Refocus on your main points. Try to evoke the emotions you want your audience to feel. And finally, be resolute in what action you want them to take. All of these elements make up your message.

[Related: How To Embrace Failure To Find Your Passion]

3. Get professional training.

Many intelligent women mistakenly believe that revealing their weaknesses will lead to others perceiving them as incompetent.

Everyone struggles with public speaking at some point, no matter how much they prepare. If you find yourself fighting your internal dialogue and still not being able to deliver a clear message, it may be time to ask for help from someone who knows what they’re doing.

Consider investing in professional development opportunities.

There is no shame in admitting you need help to make your presentation skills and delivery better. {Click to Tweet} By hiring a public speaking coach or vocal coach, you will improve your speech and communication skills significantly. This is because they can offer feedback from both the perspective of an audience member and a professional educator.

4.Practice, practice, practice.

This goes without saying, but never go into a presentation or public speaking opportunity unprepared. Not only will this reflects poorly on you and your brand, but it also communicates to your audience that you don’t respect their time.

Get to know your content by practicing with 1. presentation slides, and 2. Familiarize yourself with the proper places to pause, break, or stop in your script by doing the same thing. After that, move on to practicing without presentation slides so that you can focus on things like making eye contact, using emotion effectively, speaking cadently, flowing smoothly, and coming across as natural.

5.Have fun.

The goal of public speaking shouldn’t be to put yourself on display to be judged, but rather to provide value. Many people get nervous about public speaking for this reason, but it’s important to remember that you’re not doing anything different than when you give a gift or share a meal with someone close to you.

By changing your perspective, public speaking can be fun instead of dreadful. Instead of picturing a room with bored businesspeople ready to exit, think about an engaged group of people hanging on your every word.

Trying new things can be scary, but remember that you have the power within you to succeed. Don’t give up before you even start.

This article was republished on Career Contessa with the original author’s permission.

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