They say the quickest way to elevate your visibility, is through public speaking. For some reason, if you are only on a stage briefly, people are able to develop the know, like a trust factor must quicker. In fact, often within moments, audience members can assess whether you are somebody they would like to get to know better.
Unfortunately, the one thing that can catapult your industry visibility, is the one thing that most people fear most. Therefore, they volunteer to do the least. The idea of standing in front of an audience and subjecting yourself to judgement, criticism or even a slight bit incredulous—who does she think she is—is enough to cause the highest level of panic and stress.
But, you and I know you aren’t most people. There is something extra dope about you. So if you have been holding yourself back from the stage, I would like to challenge you to shift the way you look at your responsibility about being an industry expert.
It’s time that you recognize that your message, expertise, and industry insight can’t change, empower, help or elevate anyone if it isn’t being seen or heard. And the most important thing you can do is become visible. Aren’t you ready to spread your message and empower and equip others with your expertise?
So stop letting the idea of perfection hold you back. Let me let you in on a little secret, you don’t have to put all of your chips on your next, or first talk. Just do it. I can guarantee you that your talk isn’t going to land you on the cast as the “next greatest speaker.” Nor, will you land an agent or win a million dollar contest. Therefore, stop feeling as though it is a “make or break opportunity.”
Think of it simply as a tool to highlight your expertise. See, you can exhale now. This should make you feel 100% better. Why? Because you aren’t expected to be perfect. You are expected to be authentic. Big difference.
Just be honest with your audience. Don’t try to act like someone you are not. The quickest way to build a strong and lasting personal brand is through authenticity. Expect to fail. Forget lines. Blank out. Stutter. So what? There is nobody anywhere in the world, who is changing the game, who hasn’t made major faux pas in public. Beyonce has fallen countless times on stage, but she has also garnered numerous headlines stating that she is the best in the business. Because she got back up—and continued to slay.
My advice to you:
Start small. Identify one thing you can volunteer to do that will provide you a platform to share your expertise? Maybe it is a lunch and learn at work? PTA Presentation. Or, reading the announcements at church. Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself. The goal is to simply start with something that places you front and center and forces everyone to listen to you.
Record: Have you ever heard of a professional sports team that didn’t study their game footage? Neither have I. You will never know what you can do to elevate your speaking if you aren’t studying it for yourself. It doesn’t matter what everyone else has to say. What will you do better next time and maximize next time?
Repeat: Don’t stop there. The moment you get off the stage, start thinking about where you are going to identify your next opportunity.
Jennifer Ransaw Smith, a Personal Elevation Architect™, is the owner of The Personal Elevation Lab, formerly Brand id | Strategic Partners. She equips women professionals, executives, and entrepreneurs with the tips, tools, strategies and resources they need to elevate their visibility, credibility, influence and impact. Clients hire her when they are ready to “make a name for themselves,” in their organization and/ or industry. She can be reached at Jennifer@PersonalElevation.com or www.PersonalElevation.com.