Since joining Dale Carnegie in 2011, and working with countless leaders in practically all industries, fear of speaking in front of groups is one of the most costly deficiencies I have witnessed.

This fear impairs a leader’s ability to inspire the troops, creates a lack of confidence among the ranks, and makes the leader look flat-out incompetent.

These perceptions are, in most cases, incorrect, since these leaders have earned the right, through hard work and successes, to lead their teams, departments, and entire organizations.  So why is a leader’s ability to speak well in front of groups so important, since it’s not necessarily a reflection of knowledge or skill?

Simply said, its human nature.  Those that can stand up and take a crowd of people from Point A to Point B with their words in a logical, entertaining way, have risen to the top of business, politics, and faith organizations, from the beginning of time.  We cannot run from this fear if we want to lead winning organizations.

Here are 3 tips that can make you a more confident speaker:

1. Smile at your audience.  It creates your connection with them, and neurologically, has been proven to decrease your cortisol levels (stress hormone).

2. Make notes.  Do this in bullet points, not full sentences, on a note card to remind you of the key topics you want to cover.  Outlook can be used for this as long as we don’t stare at the slide while we talk.

3. Practice by recording yourself with your smart phone.  I guarantee you don’t sound or look like you think. Why not do this a few times until you’re happy with what you see?

Marilyn Ferguson said, “Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is a freedom.” It’s worth your time to address this fear.  It doesn’t go away by itself, but it is definitely possible to conquer it.

For additional best practices download Dale Carnegie’s Presentation Effectiveness: Speak More Effectively Guide or contact our team for more information about one-on-one coaching.

Posted by Ryan M. Akins

Investor, Entrepreneur, Listener and Learner. Ryan currently serves as Regional President of Dale Carnegie for the North Texas region. He graduated from The Dale Carnegie Course in 2011.

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