Public Speaking

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Megaphone, Public Speaking, Patricia Stark

We fear public speaking…

The thought of speaking in front of a crowd of people is enough to make most of us sick to our stomach.

Nerves often get the best of us as we say our first words, then the beautiful mosaic of spoken artistry we envisioned in our minds unravels into a tangly mess of stuttering, mispronunciation and the general feeling that you’d rather be any place in the world other than where you’re standing.

We never quite say what we want to say and we never quite express the emotions we want to express.

That’s why we talked with New York-based communications coach Patricia Stark, who told us that your success in public speaking boils down to three basic principles.

“Those three things will help ground you and anchor you to be really sure that this situation unfolds the way that you’re hoping that it will,” Stark said, “and that the people on the receiving end will understand your message and why you’re delivering it.

The FOX News anchor and actress gave us three areas essential to confident, excellent public speaking:

1. Intention

Public speaking requires that you have an intention. That intention will be the guiding principle behind what you say and how you say it.

The best way to set yourself up for success in the public speaking arena is to focus your attention on the audience, Stark said.

Microphone, Public Speaking, Patricia Stark

“Your first intention has to be, ‘How can I be of service?’ and ‘How can I give something of value here?’ and ‘What can I do to either educate them, motivate them, inspire them and give them something they can leave with in their lives and benefit them,’” she said.

“Everything tends to fall into place and takes care of itself when you have the right intention.”

Once your focus is in the right place and your intentions are others-centered, you’ll notice public speaking or presenting becomes a little easier.

“Once you have the right intention and your priority is the audience member, and you make it be about them, it takes an enormous amount of pressure off you,” Stark said. “Everything tends to fall into place and takes care of itself when you have the right intention. “

2. Belief

What you believe about your cause, argument, idea or business is an indispensable part of your public speaking arsenal. Belief is not only important in the sense that it strengthens your confidence in what you have to say, but it makes what you’re saying authentic and believable for your audience.

“You have to believe wholeheartedly in what you are about to say and do because, if you aren’t 100% convinced yourself, you’ll never be able to convince anyone else,” Stark said.  “You have to be all-in; hook, line and sinker.”

“You have to believe wholeheartedly in what you are about to say and do because, if you aren’t 100% convinced yourself, you’ll never be able to convince anyone else.” 

Your belief could be the difference in your words being fierce enough to inspire battle cries or toothless enough to induce yawns.

“No one is going to catch your fire unless you have that mentality of ‘I truly believe what I’m saying here,’” she said. “Because if you don’t, people are going to wonder why you’re even bothering.”

3. Mindset

What’s the first thought that creeps into your mind in the minutes and seconds before you take the stage for your presentation or speech?

Most of us recite a long list of negative thoughts.: “I hope I don’t screw up.” “I hope I don’t mess up.” “I hope I don’t blank out.”

“We’re really great, as human beings, at worrying about worst-case scenarios and what can go wrong,” Stark said.

“Before a speech or before you get in front of a television camera or a job interview, you need to ask, ‘What am I saying to myself?’ and ‘What am I visualizing right now?’”

One of the keys to a successful presentation or speech is “pre-paving”, a method of visualizing the success you want to achieve.

“Before a speech or before you get in front of a television camera or a job interview, you need to ask, ‘What am I saying to myself?’ and ‘What am I visualizing right now?’,” Stark said. “You want to take some time to not only think the right thoughts and be in charge of what you’re saying to yourself, but then go even further and visualize – see exactly what you want to have happen as it’s unfolding.”

More Strategies From Patricia Stark

If you’d like to get more tips and strategies about public speaking and communication, check out Patricia Stark’s free, step-by-step Goaly strategy, “The Art of Presenting: Belief, Mindset and Intention”.

Here’s Patricia’s introductory video to the series: