Don’t Fear Public Speaking

Today’s finance and accounting professionals are finding it increasingly necessary to conduct presentations for varied audiences.  What do these professionals do when the idea of presenting to a group makes them anxious and fearful?  After-all, fear of public speaking is one of the most common phobias. It is a type of performance anxiety in which a person becomes worried about looking visibly anxious or maybe even having a panic attack while speaking.

Speakers create more anxiety for themselves when they don’t embrace public speaking. Instead, they attempt to avoid their feelings. They read, the rush, they ignore the audience, and they focus on resisting their fear. The result is typically increased anxiety, not less – just the opposite of what they want.

Take Account of Public Speaking’s Benefits

There are people who appear to be born orators, standing before a crowd with poise, know-how, and humor. Chances are they have learned the benefits of public speaking, along with delivery tips. Take a few minutes to think about the potential benefits of adding public speaking to your skill-set.

Leadership Preparation

You are on-track for leadership positions. These will necessitate speaking regularly before small and large groups. Some will be in-house while others may be for professional and community groups.

Tips for Becoming a Public Speaking Pro

Get ready to stand up and present before groups of varied sizes by:

  • Know Your Material.  Don’t just memorize the words.  Master public speakers don’t rely on memorizing their speeches word-for-word. On the contrary, they remember key points and use prompts on subtopics and examples.
  • Engage Your Audience. Monologue presentations put the entire job of being informative and entertaining on you. Instead,  make it a two-way interaction with questions and participation to reduce audience boredom. Having the audience get involved takes all of the pressure off of you.

  • Test Equipment Ahead of Time.  This will reduce embarrassing glitches during your speech that might just send you into a tailspin of panic.
  • Reduce Stress. Visualize a positive outcome while using deep belly breathing to calm your nerves.

  • Arrive Early. Mingle and make connections with audience members before your speech.  That  way, when you look out in the audience you will have some friendly faces.

And finally, realize that many of the people in your audience dread the idea of public speaking, too.

For more insight on speaking skills for accounting and finance professionals, check out Icebreaker Questions to Open Your Next Accounting Meeting