Whether it’s presenting to investors, pitching to potential clients or speaking at a conference, public speaking is a large part of being an entrepreneur. There are some, such as Gary Vaynerchuk, that are natural at public speaking, but others aren’t. It’s a major fear for a lot of people, and getting in front of an audience in any context is nerve-wracking at best. In a blog post I recently read, Gary Vaynerchuk, a self-proclaimed lover of public speaking, outlined three pieces of advice to build confidence when speaking publicly. Here’s what he had to say:
Stick to what you know: When speaking publicly, you want to stick to what you know. If it’s something you’re not familiar with, that will show, and you’ll get nervous and could potentially falter. When somebody is speaking publicly about something they don’t necessarily know, then they get stuck, especially when somebody asks a question. As long as you stick to your personal expertise, then you can have the confidence to go up and offer your insights.
Be humble: Before you speak, you want to take the temperature of the room, so to speak. You want to get an idea of what their experience is and the context they have about you or the topic you’re discussing. You can’t automatically assume what the audience does or doesn’t know. Whether you feel over your head or overqualified, stick with what you know and do it with humility.
Communicate however you’re most comfortable: When giving presentations, Gary Vaynerchuk avoids cue cards because he isn’t a good reader; he’s better at improvising. But if you’re better at reading from cue cards, then use that. You have to know how you best communicate and then use that to your advantage. If you’re communicating in a way that you know and understand, then you’ll automatically gain more confidence, which will in turn make you a better public speaker.