It’s worth repeating: Chiropractors who do public speaking in their communities tend to have more successful practices than those who don’t.
Speaking is one of the fastest, easiest, and least costly ways to become better known in your community and it gives you tremendous credibility that only increases over time.
Most DCs already have the qualifications and ability to be effective public speakers since it is just an extension of in-office patient education. So, what keeps some of you from doing public speaking?
According to The Book of Lists, the fear of public speaking ranks number one in the minds of the majority of people. Far above the fear of death and disease, comes the fear of standing in front of a crowd.
Psychologists explain stage fright as merely emotional excitement. Its impact on a speaker can be negative or positive, depending on the meaning attached to it. If you think of stage fright as a sign of nervousness or inadequacy, then it will reinforce those feelings and make you anxious and afraid.
But if you think of the extra adrenalin being pumped into your system as a normal, healthy response to emotional excitement, stage fright acts as a booster. Your emotional response will reinforce your positive feelings and enable you to think clearly, speak better, and be more enthusiastic.
Follow these steps to better your public speaking:
- Be prepared. The first and most important way to conquer stage fright is with thorough preparation which involves three important things: researching, writing, and rehearsing.
The more time you spend on these steps, the more familiar you will be with your presentation. This will significantly enhance your self-confidence and delivery.
The smooth delivery of an accomplished speaker is deceptive. It is rarely as easy as it looks. As Mark Twain once observed, “It takes me about five-and-a-half weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.”
- Another way to cope with nerves is with deep breathing. Just before your presentation, fill your lungs as completely as possible. Then exhale as much as you can. Repeat this exercise 10 or 12 times. It will help reduce shortness of breath, put you at ease, and improve your delivery.
- Other tricks to help you relax include listening to music; doing isometrics that tighten
and release muscles; and meeting and talking with members of the audience beforehand.
Remember, nervousness doesn’t show one-tenth as much it feels.
People who are most bothered by stage fright are those who are least accustomed to public speaking. The remedy is simple: practice, practice, practice.
Bob Levoy is a seminar speaker and writer who focuses on the healthcare industry. His most recent book is 222 Secrets of Hiring, Managing, and Retaining Great Employees in Healthcare Practices Jones and Bartlett Publishers (November, 2006). He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.