Last month, I gave a public speaking workshop for entrepreneurs at a co-working space in Reno. It was not the first time I’d given this particular workshop, but the first time in a long time. And since I just recently launched my coaching website and my brand is quite new (despite having done this work by another name for quite some time), I’ve been making the rounds at networking events – again something I’ve done quite a lot of, but not in a very long time. Both occasions made me realize I was a little rusty at giving my pitch. You see, public speaking is not something that has ever come easily to me, despite the fact that in the past, people have often come up to congratulate me for how easy I make it seem, and not to mention that I sometimes teach workshops that help other people hone these same skills at which I am admittedly rusty!
Believe it or not, I’m an introvert. In fact, I was *painfully* shy as a child. But at one point, I woke up and realized that being shy – trying as I might on so many occasions to melt into the wall, being petrified to speak up in class – wasn’t getting me what I wanted in life. I’m not sure if it was a sudden shift or if it took place in subtle increments over time. I’m sure I’ve blocked many of the more painful incidents from my memory. But at some point, I realized I had the power within me to be bold – to speak up. That I had opinions and observations worth sharing and that if I didn’t, they’d be wasted. And when I started to speak up, other shy people would sometimes come up to me and thank me for sharing what I said because it was also what they wanted to say, but couldn’t.
Despite this, I hated public speaking all the way until grad school. Sure, I would fake it, and that worked just fine, but that didn’t mean I enjoyed it. It was still just a necessary evil. I had to do it for a grade. But I realized I also had to do it because I had things to say that would help others. My mission in life is to help people navigate change in a positive way that leads to a happier, healthier and more successful way of being. But I can’t do that unless I speak up.
One of the biggest challenges I see especially early-stage entrepreneurs faced with every day is how to effectively communicate about their business in a way that makes people want to invest in them, want to partner with them, or want to buy from them. Even when it’s a subject (like their own business offering) that they know inside and out and that is perhaps the thing they are most passionate about in the whole world! As soon as you start talking in terms like “pitching,” “presenting,” or “public speaking,” it becomes fraught. These words can strike fear in the hearts of some of the most confident and capable people I know. But there is NOTHING like the power and energy of face-to-face communication to bring a concept alive!
Not only does live communication help you become more visible and memorable, but people trust people that they’ve connected with live more than people they’ve only met virtually. They will relate to you as more human and start to see you as an authority. I mean, who would you rather work with? The convincing, passionate, empathic voice connecting with you live from the stage, from the front of the boardroom, or even across a desk or video screen … or the written voice in the flat email?
So, no matter your mission, if you are an entrepreneur who is struggling with what to say, I want to encourage you to start practicing now. Get really really really good at communicating how you help solve other people’s problems, and then get out and about and start talking to people face-to-face about it. They might just thank you for it. And don’t worry, I’ll start taking my own advice and doing some of this sharing for Facebook Live in the future so you can give me your feedback about communicating in a live forum!
Now I’d like to hear from you. Have you ever put yourself out there trying to tell your story in a public way and it flopped? What did you learn from the situation? Are you willing to try again?
P.S. If nervousness or lack of confidence around public speaking or making a sales pitch is keeping you from reaching your goals in your business or career, I’m happy to help! Reach out for a complimentary 30-minute laser-coaching session.