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What are the top 5 problems people have with public speaking?

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These are issues that come up often with my clients

Hi. What are the top five problems that people experience when it comes to public speaking and presentations? Before I run through them, I’m Shola Kay. I’m a professional speaker and also a professional speaker coach. And I’m putting this video together because there are certain things that I keep seeing when I have clients come to me for help with public speaking and certain issues that people have that come up again and again. So I thought I’d try to look at them here in this video in no particular order.

#1 Anxiety

So the first one is this, which is of course anxiety. A lot of people feel very anxious about public speaking, typically because they’re worried about being judged because it’s a high pressure situation. Nobody wants to fall on their face or to fluff their lines. And so people often feel a bit worried about that. And that typically comes from not wanting to be rejected. And as cavemen and cave-women, we knew back then thousands of years ago that if we were rejected by the group, then we would probably perish because we wouldn’t have the protection of the group, we wouldn’t be able to find food. We might be eaten by wild animals, et cetera. And so we are now hardwired to be concerned about rejection and being ostracized from the group. So that’s one of the reasons why people get so anxious about public speaking.

#2 Lack of structure

The second one that I often see is that people don’t really have a structure, and they throw a few bits and pieces together, and it doesn’t really have a logical path that people can follow, both when you’re delivering and also for the audience. So it just feels like a bit of a jumble of information. So no structure can also be a big problem when you are putting a talk together or a presentation for public speaking.

#3 Body language

Another problem can be body language, which is quite negative, or just doesn’t look very empowering. So for example, you might stand with your head down and your shoulders hunched. Perhaps when you’re speaking, you’re backing away from the audience, which of course implies that you’re afraid. It could be that instead of having no cards, you might have an exercise book or bits of paper that you’re rustling and paper that’s … turning over sheets of paper when you’re speaking. And all of that implies that you’re not very confident and it looks a little bit shambolic basically. So there are ways to get around that.

#4 Poor delivery

Other issues can be, this is kind of related to body language, but poor delivery, weak delivery. That can be, for example, people rushing through because they’re not very comfortable being in front of the audience. They just rush through all their lines very quickly, stumbling over the words. Maybe they’re speaking so fast that it’s not even intelligible to the audience, but the main thought, the prevailing thought in people’s, in the speaker’s mind is, “I just want to get out of here. Let this be over.” And so they start speaking really, really fast, and blah, blah, blah, and then it’s over very quickly. But of course it wasn’t a very impactful experience for the audience because everything was rushed and it just felt uncomfortable. So that’s four.

#5 No clear message

Another one, I’ll stop with this one, but there are so many, but I’ll stop with this, which is no clear message. And quite often when people are thinking about creating a presentation or a talk, instead of sitting without the software, without PowerPoint or Keynote, instead of sitting quietly for a few moments and thinking about who’s the audience, what’s the message, just asking yourself those key questions that you need to have answered before you start preparing, people jump straight into PowerPoint and they start putting slides together. And what tends to happen is the message of the presentation isn’t well thought out, and so the slides that fit together as a cohesive set of slides that make up a really nice whole that tells a story and delivers a powerful message. And instead things seem a bit disjointed and they don’t quite fit together properly.

If you learn the right strategies the process can become easy

And so if you know what your message is and you know who your audience is, then everything that you present should be backing up and supporting that message. That’s why it’s so important to know the message before you create the body of your presentation. And quite often, one of the reasons people feel a bit anxious and concerned about creating presentations and speeches is because they don’t firm up the message first, and so they know that there’s going to be some turmoil and some trauma in the creation of this presentation, because what tends to happen is you start, you put a few slides together and then you think, “Does that make sense?” So then you rearrange them and then you add a bit more information and then you rearrange them again. And you feel like it’s just been a real torturous process. It’s been really arduous, it’s been hard work.

You can get better and better at presentations

And so the next time you come to make a presentation and you’ve got to plan it again, in our mind is, “Oh man, that last one I did was such hard work. It was so stressful.” And so we end up, instead of starting early, we leave things to the last minute because we know that it’s going to be a little bit painful. And so then that becomes a bit of a vicious circle, a vicious cycle, and we dread presentations more and more and more, and they get worse and worse and worse instead of better and better and better.

Be aware of which challenges you need to address

So, hopefully those five tips were useful to you, five reasons why people have problems with public speaking. So just to recap, the first one was anxiety, people feeling anxious about their speaking opportunity. The second one was no structure, so they don’t have a structure. So the information doesn’t really flow. The third one is poor body language or weak body language because they’re not feeling confident. The fourth one is poor delivery, and that’s typically because people don’t rehearse enough, things are left until the last minute. And then finally no clear message.

I can help you overcome these problems

Hope that was helpful. And if you’re interested in finding a way to actually solve those problems, then why not check out some of my solutions? I have a book which is called How to Be a Diva, D-I-V-A, at Public Speaking, and DIVA is my little formula, my methodology for being an all rounder at speaking. I have coaching packages with me, which are parts of study and part one-to-one. I also have online coaching training that you can do, which is entirely self-study. And I also work with business owners and go into companies to deliver coaching and training. Lots of options there, if you’re interested in finding out a bit more. So please go to the contact page on my website and fill that in and let’s book a time to chat. Take care, and I hope that was helpful. Bye.

Shola Kaye is an award-winning speaker, author and professional speaker coach with clients around the world. Her work has been mentioned in Forbes, Harper’s Bazaar and on the BBC.
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