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How to Turn Public Speaking from a Chore to an Opportunity

You may have seen the movie Swingers, a mid-90s comedy classic starring a young Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau. Perhaps the most popular scene features Vaughn trying to convince Favreau to talk to a cute girl. Favreau, having recently gone through a tough break-up, feels about as confident as a field mouse, yet his friend wants him to think of himself as a big, ferocious bear. Vaughn tells him: “You’re so money and you don’t even know it.” He's trying to change Favreau's mindset, to give him the extra confidence needed to score a date. When it comes to networking, speaking in public, and just getting your name out there, you too are "so money," and you don't even know it. Once you cultivate the right mindset, the rest is just a matter of a little effort and preparation. There'll be no stopping you. So, how do you make that mindset shift?

The power of positive thinking:

The biggest problem with public speaking is that most people have already assigned a negative emotion to it long before they get on stage. They view it as a chore – something they have to do. They’ll say, “Oh no, I have to give a business presentation in front of 100 people tomorrow? What if I mess up?” whereas they should be saying, “I get to give a presentation in front of 100 people tomorrow. How can I make it awesome?”.

Developing a positive mindset, and framing your thinking differently--  have to versus get to-- makes all the difference.

[bctt tweet="Change your #mindset to think about #PublicSpeaking as an opportunity, not a chore says @waronboring"]

Having a positive mindset can improve your business presentation skills in the face of a challenge. Let’s look at this more closely: when you think you have to do something, it implies that it’s against your will. It’s an undesired obligation that’s fallen on your plate and you need to get it done and out of the way. However, when you think you get to do something, it implies it’s fortuitous. You’ve been awarded the chance to partake in something interesting – a unique opportunity to be relished. At the end of the day, you’re much more likely to excel in a business presentation if you view it as an opportunity, instead of an obstacle.[bctt tweet="The key to success? Reframe negative thinking from HAVE TO to GET TO, says @waronboring"]

Keep calm and present on:

A change in mindset is about more than positive thinking, it’s also about putting things into perspective so you can remain calm under pressure. Because of this, it’s important not to hype up any given presentation. Take the example of dating: people are usually much more nervous before a date with someone they really like, versus someone they’re unsure of or barely know. This is because they’re assigning more importance to the outcome of the date with the more desirable guy or gal. Similarly, if you hype up a presentation as being super important, you’re going to put more pressure on yourself, and be even more nervous than usual. [bctt tweet="Try not to hype up a #presentation - keep calm and put things into #perspective, says @waronboring"]

When it comes down to it, a business presentation is not that big of a deal. It’s never the biggest presentation of your life. It’s never a huge obstacle that you have to overcome in order to get revenue or recognition. It’s always just another opportunity in which you get to share your ideas with some cool people who might even be able to help you execute them or, better yet, pay you for them. It’s that simple.

Seize the day:

Whether you're presenting in front of your team, at a conference, or you're giving your 60-second elevator pitch like my students at Startup Institute Talent Expo, every opportunity to present is also an opportunity to share your expertise with the world. We’re all experts at something-- It could be as broad as business strategy, or as niche as business strategy for ice cream shops in cold climates. The problem is that most people don’t know you’re an expert because you don’t share your expertise. Remember, those who talk get noticed. Those who don’t, don’t. So take advantage of every opportunity to let your expertise shine![bctt tweet="Take the opportunity to speak up & get noticed for being the expert you are, says @waronboring"]

For more tips and tricks on becoming a great public speaker, check out my brand-spanking-new book, The War on Boring: How to Kill Mind-Numbing Presentations Before They Kill Us First.[bctt tweet="Learn to own public speaking w/ The War on Boring, by @waronboring"]

Siôn Owen is a Startup Institute Instructor in Chicago, author of "The War on Boring: How to Kill Mind-Numbing Presentations Before They Kill Us First," and Ringmaster at Pitch Circus, a communication consultancy for bold thinkers. Siôn specializes in teaching entrepreneurs and professionals how to get more creative and persuasive with their pitches to help their big ideas stick.

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