If you can speak, you can influence. If you can influence, you can change lives.” – Rob Brown
Do you dread the thought of public speaking? Many of us do. And then there are those that are gifted when it comes to presenting ideas before large numbers of people. Dr. Malik Muhammad– an educator, trainer, vice president in a human services company and my husband of 21 years- was born with a mic in his hand. I have known him since he was seventeen and I have watched him present hundreds of times. And his gift to stand before a group of people and move them with his inspirational message is something to see! He is dynamic at something most of us fear, public speaking!
However, he was not always comfortable with public speaking. When we was younger, he was fearful of being judged. He conquered this fear by reading about issues related to social justice and developing a passion for serving the oppressed. He shared, “While the judgement of the audience would still be there, my sense of responsibility to speak truth to power was greater.”
Three out of every four people have a fear of public speaking (a.k.a. glossophobia). Some people claim to prefer death over talking before a group of people. Nausea, dry mouth, body shaking, shortness of breath and increased heart rate are just a few of the symptoms one might experience if they are uncomfortable with public speaking. Dr. Muhammad offers the following tips for those who want to improve their public speaking skills and/or conquer their fear of public speaking.
- Practice, practice and then practice again. Get the content down first. Then focus on intonation and tone for emphasis and lastly on rhythm and pacing. A good rule of thumb is to practice 3 to 5 times as long as the length of your talk/presentation.
- Remember that your voice is unique and special. Make sure that your words and presentation reflect who you are authentically. This is what your audience will respect and remember.
- Think positively. Ask yourself, Who am I to silence the voice that the Creator has given me a chance to share with others? And when you have finished with the presentation, write down 5 to 10 things you did well, rather than focusing on mistakes. This can serve to increase your confidence.
So there are some tips from a dynamic speaker. I still get chills watching my husband move an audience with his words! So if you have a message to share, using some of these tips can be helpful. If you tend to struggle with anxiety on a regular basis, then you might want to talk to a professional who specializes in treating anxiety disorders. And if you want to see Dr. Muhammad do his thing, then make sure to check out his website. That’s one amazing and passionate man who has transformed lives with the power of the word and I am the lucky woman standing beside him.