I am an introvert. I don’t like large groups of people and hate small talk.
However, my job requires me to be the complete opposite of what I described above. So I had to learn how to be outgoing, chatty and address large (as in several hundred people large) groups of people in an assertive manner. As with most things, the more you do it, the better you get.
Here is what works:
1. Record yourself speak. It will be painful to watch, but it’s the only most effective way I know to rid yourself of parasite (ex: “um”, “like”, “you know”) words, fiddling and a laundry list of other horrible habits
2. Speak in front of a mirror while looking at yourself.
3. Purposefully volunteer to speak in events, meetings etc. Take any opportunity you can.
4. Watch speeches of other people. I love Ted talks and commencement speeches on @youtube. Pay attention to body language, pattern of speech, tone of voice, eye contact.
5. Be fearless. I bet you’re thinking “what if I am so bad that people will make fun of me?”. I have spent the last 14 years surrounded by people listening to others talk and I have never seen anyone be made fun of.
But – I get it’s a real fear for many. Refer to our post on fear of failure and use steps we outlined there to apply here as well. It works!