I’d rather listen to a shaky presentation delivered with passion and conviction, than to a slick elevator pitch – any day.

It’s a bit of a paradox, the fact that speaking in public is one of the highest ranking human fears. Why? Because speaking in public also just happens to rank as one of the most powerful ways of promoting ourselves. That’s very clear when you’re part of an audience listening to – or better still – participating in, an interesting presentation.

However, it’s a different kettle of fish if you are quiet, lacking in confidence, or an introvert.

But here’s the challenge – if you can overcome the fear, it can do some pretty amazing things for you:

  • It creates a huge increase in trust – people see the authentic you.
  • It’s a relationship building exercise – as long as what you do is interactive.
  • It’s communication, market research and selling rolled into one.
  • You can engage all learning styles much more comprehensively.
  • It creates empathy – it creates a chance for people to get to like you - your story is a crucial part of that.
  • It’s a chance to demonstrate your products skills and abilities - adult show and tell.

Have you noticed that stalls and exhibitions where there is an active demonstration of skill on display attract the most attention?

My ‘lightbulb’ moment came from a roadside glassmaker just outside the ground of Bellapais Abbey in North Cyprus. The man on the stall had a crowd of astounded people watching him produce microscopic (about 4mm) glass elephants - without the aid of magnifying equipment – in just a few minutes. And as he made the elephants he told the story of himself (‘I’m in the Guinness records book you know’) and his work and his tiny rickety stall. He nailed every single one of those bullet points with ease.

When you are a quiet creative person it can feel odd standing up talking about yourself with just a PowerPoint to shelter behind. So why not create opportunities to get out there and do your authentic show and tell? (It really doesn’t matter how big the audience is – start small!)

Public speaking is the number one fear for most adults because we suffer from impostor syndrome – the nagging fear of being ‘found out’ – or worse still, being ridiculed in public. It’s a tough threshold of anxiety to clamber over. Put your skills and your work between you and the audience – and interact – and it all suddenly gets easier.

This post is developed from themes in ‘The Art Of Shouting Quietly‘ 

Best wishes – Pete