Public Speaking - from uhm to wow!

November 15, 2021

Chances are, you were never taught how to speak in public back in school. In front of an audience. Entertaining. Or showing up on Instagram stories. You just do it, but are you really ‘good’ at it?

Remember when your teacher would say "Write a paper and then present it in front of the class." Majority of the class was terrified and nervous without any guidance on how to battle that, but did you really learn how to tell a story? Probably not! So how can you now, as a business owner and freelancer, how do you talk about your business properly and tell your personal story?

Long story short, there’s no cure for your stage nervousness. You just have to figure out what works best for you when you have to speak in public.

Storytelling and its importance

Let’s get into the details and why storytelling is so important. In order to present something to your audience (no matter if they are behind a phone screen or actually in front of you in a room) you need a proper story. It is through stories that we relate as humans to other humans. It’s how you form a connection. The human brain hears words and transforms these into images in our minds.

When talking to other entrepreneurs and them telling a story of how they struggle with starting their business and then suddenly had all these sales or nobody liking their Instagram pic and now their story views are crazy - we latch onto stories like these (you probably say "Oh my gosh, that's part of my story, too", when you hear a fellow entrepreneur say the above).

Storytelling and entrepreneurship are linked because at the foundation of them both is the human experience. As a freelancer it’s important to practice your story. How did you start your business? What service do you provide? Who do you help? What’s your mission? Make sure to go over those answers thoroughly because those questions will come up a lot and you’ll feel way more confident if you have those answers ready to go. They're going to be your value story. It's going to be your founder's story. Each of us has a story and somebody on this planet is meant to hear it, develop it and learn from it.

How to improve speaking in public

Practice makes progress. Talk to your phone camera by yourself to see how you naturally show up. Record yourself talking, no need to show this to anyone or publish it. Become familiar with how you sound and what you say.

From there you can take action on what to improve. Maybe that exposure to practicing over and over again will help you as a speaker. Maybe it’s memorizing content, are there any bullet points or complete sentences to help you remember?

Notice how you show up and how different it is from how you want to show up. Then you can start to make those shifts and start to focus on the things you want to get better at and keep working on the things that you like, that you want to keep doing over and over again that maybe you hadn't recognized in the past. Everybody is different and public speaking still remains at the core. It is still the thing we do to get our message across no matter how big the audience is.

When you really get to the root of what public speaking is, it's an energy exchange.

Story Writing                        

In order to tell a captivating story, you have to write that story first. An easy framework is a three part structure (there are plenty of other ones but we think this is the easiest one):

  1. Your message: Think about that one thing that you want the audience to walk away with.
  2. Back that message up with three points.
  3. Close it with a joke, a quote, or something that ties it all together.

Those are your three proofs. For example: “I drink a gallon of water a day. I make sure that I only have two cups of coffee to balance out the gallon and when I work out, I have to make sure that I put hydration in my water and drink a big jar of water before getting out of bed. A gallon of water a day keeps the doctor away."

Common Public Speaking Mistake

Leading with content. You might think ‘What, why wouldn’t I?’ But the truth is, you’ll probably start rattling off and there will not be a connection formed with your audience. Rather than leading with content, create space for your message and start with your story. Understand your audience before you start!

And never forget: The bigger the stage, the bigger the opportunity to impact the people in that audience.

Melissa Ruiz is a public speaking coach based out of New York. Her signature program ‘Show and Tell with Mel’ teaches how to strategically show up in front of an audience or social media, how to tell a story and much more.

Working with a public speaking coach is a taxable expense when you are a freelancer. Download Lunafi to help you with itemization and to make sure you are set up for the next tax season!

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