There are a few myths about public speaking that circulate on a regular basis.
Three of the most popular are that you must be strong to be heard, you must be born a great speaker, and introverts cannot speak in public.
Well, I am here to tell you that these beliefs are complete myths and only serve to prevent people from becoming amazing speakers and presenters.
Let’s tackle the top 3 myths about public speaking and how to break them!
Myth # 1: You have to be STRONG to be heard
“Whoever shouts the loudest shouts the best.
From an early age we are told to speak, otherwise we will not be heard. From that first recitation at school when you were 6 to the presentation you had to give about your new job… the pressure to be heard is still the same.
Shouting or talking at a high volume for a while is exhausting. And it’s exhausting for you and your audience.
When you speak at a single volume and don’t change it, it’s a form of monotony and monotony is one of your biggest enemies when it comes to public speaking.
Also, when you only speak loudly, it is very tiring for the ear. And when you get tired, you stop listening, which is the opposite of what you want the audience to do. You want us to listen to you.
So be sure to change the volume you’re speaking at, bring some variety to it, and let our ears guess. Volume is a sneaky little vocal tool because so few speakers use it effectively. Turning down the volume can actually cause the audience to bend down and listen, while slapping us on the head with a loud speech repels the audience.
So stronger is not always better. Use high volume as you would a strong spice in cooking – sparingly, tactfully, and with judicious restraint.
Myth # 2: You must be born a great speaker
This myth about public speaking really gets my goat. Great speakers are made, not born.
Speaking and presenting in public is a skill like any other skill on the planet. You learn basic techniques and strategies, then you practice, practice, practice.
And I mean practice with determination and specificity. Just going through your presentation or speech a few times without a plan in mind will help you memorize the words, but it won’t create a great delivery.
No one emerges from the womb a great public speaker; you watch, observe, learn and practice in order to become a great speaker and presenter. It is essential to focus on your strengths as well as your challenges. By building on what you know to be good at public speaking, you improve these skills.
Moreover, by focusing on what you know you need to do better and making the appropriate changes, you also improve these skills. It’s a win-win situation.
But you rarely do it alone, as you need objectivity and input from an outside eye to become a great speaker. EVERYBODY does it, from Tony Robbins to Elon Musk to Barak Obama. They all have coaches, someone is helping them see what they are doing well and what they need to change.
So remember, you can become a great speaker. It is not a birthright. Spend time on focused practice and you can do it the same way anyone else does.
Myth # 3: “I’m an introvert, so I can’t give presentations or speeches.”
I have coached hundreds of clients at this point in my career. And I’m here to tell you that introverts make amazing speakers.
Why? Because they know what it’s like to have a lot of knowledge but are afraid to speak up. And this is extremely relevant to your audience.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’m an introvert.
You might not think so from my coaching videos and my acting career, but actors and singers are actually very introverted people.
On stage, we look confident and invincible, but that’s because we’re playing a character, we’re hiding behind a character. But off the stage, when we’re asked to speak like ourselves, it’s terrifying.
So here’s the problem: introvert or extrovert, you still need to learn the same skills and strategies and learn to apply them. When it comes to learning, practicing and applying, the playing field becomes much more level. We will all be at a different starting point when it comes to public speaking coaching, but we are all students and we are all learning.
Break the myths and explode your public speaking
Myths keep us from achieving what we want. And when we embrace the myths about public speaking, it frees you from your words and your story.
Take these myths about public speaking and presenting through shirt collars and shake them up well. They are really full of hot air. Take this proverbial pin and pop them. You may find that they shrivel up and disappear to reveal the truth: you can be a great speaker.
The journey to excellent speech and presentation begins with a step. Come on, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I’ll see you on the other side …