Public speaking is still a big worry for many people in business, leadership and management. People continue to avoid public speaking, get nerves or in the worse case have such a great fear that they limit their possibilities as a result. I have seen clever capable people not apply for a promotion, because they knew the new job would require leading meetings and giving presentations.
My role is to help these people and show them how they can be great public speakers, with impact, influence and engagement. Now of the many tools that we can use to improve our public speaking confidence and deal with our nerves and fear, the “Service Mindset” when public speaking, seems to be the tool that people have the greatest affinity and acceptance of.
So let explain the service mindset here. Simply put, every time we undertake public speaking, we are doing it to serve and be of service to our audience or our community. This may be our staff, our shareholders, our customers, or in my case, my audiences.
Every time we speak, the sole purpose of taking that risk, facing our fears, is to be 100% focused on serving our audience. This means giving them information, education, solutions to problems, hope when things seem hopeless and belief that they can do it. This is the service mindset of public speaking.
Now if we worry about our nerves, our fear, our sweaty palms and our quivering voices then we are not focusing 100% on our audience. If we worry about not being liked, making a mistake, or forgetting some of our content, then we not focused 100% on our audience. In my case, if I worry about my stutter and not being able to get my words out, which still happens, then I am not 100% focused on my audience.
There is a name for all these worries, concerns and “what if’s”, that we may bring with us when we go to speak. That name is ego. Yes, we are focusing on ourselves and our egos and our pride. Ego puts the focus on us. A service mindset puts the focus on our audience and on being of service to them.
There are simple ways that we can check and ensure that each time we speak, we are in fact coming from a service mindset, rather than from our ego.
A service mindset checklist
- Place your client first and their needs first
- Seek first to understand, then be understood
- Make yourself available to serve your audience before, during and after your presentation
- Treat all audiences and all clients with equal attention
- Demonstrate trust, reliability and authenticity
- Build rapport and empathy and try and walk in their shoes
So the next time you are preparing a presentation, make sure your audience is front and centre of your planning. Be clear on what they need and be clear on how you are going to serve them. It is not about you, it is about them. This alone will allow you shift your focus relax a little and do a good job, because your audience needs you.