DiceTV: Did you know forty percent of Americans say their fear of public speaking is holding them back in their career? Speaking up in meetings, making presentations, even guesting on podcasts can boost your career and income, yet many of us would rather face snakes than an audience.
I’m Cat Miller and this is Dice TV.
You’re a tech, not a public speaker. You work behind the scenes and you pretty much would like to keep it that way. But today, as the tech units work more with business units, techs are finding that they need to speak up more, offer their expertise and their opinion. All people, not just techs rate speaking anxiety 10 to 20 percent higher than heights, spiders, fire, and even death. For more we turn to Dino Londis, a writer on the Dice Blog Network who also writes a consumerization column for BYTE. Welcome back Dino.
CAT: Dino you were a standup comedian. How long were you doing that?
DINO: On some nights it seemed like forever.
CAT: Did you have stage fright?
DINO: Every time. But I don’t think this is the same. When a tech speaks up, like any professional speaking to peers or colleagues, they fear they will be sound dumb or be contradicted or just go blank.
I once heard of an expert witness who had stage freight. He was the tops in his field, but was petrified to address a courtroom. So he started by saying to the courtroom that he didn’t speak in front of people enough for him to shake his nerves. So he might appear nervous. And just by saying that, he calmed his nerves.
CAT: Yeah, but that’s not going to work in every case. I mean you can’t speak up in a conference room by saying, “I want to make a point about that, but I first want everyone to know I’m nervous right now.”
DINO: Right and for those situations bring an agenda. What is your desired outcome from the meeting? Once I made a presentation about the enterprise version of a dictation software product compared to the stand-alone version. I had all the research and all the answers, but I failed to develop a point of view. In other words, I didn’t know what I wanted from my very own meeting.
CAT: What about speaking on stage with a prepared presentation.
DINO: Well, in that case I can speak from experience. I’m generally soft spoken and I learned when on stage you can always start loud and bring it down, but you can’t start low and bring it up. And when you start loud – big – the words seem to follow.
Generally speaking I find that people want you to do well. Whether it’s an audience or just a few people in a meeting. People are too into their own thing to notice your anxiety.
DINO: Do you get nervous on stage, Cat?
CAT: Not so much if I’m well prepared.
DINO: And that’s probably the key. Focus on the message and the rest should follow.
CAT: Thanks Dino. (CALLBACK TO ORIGNAL BANTER)
DINO: Thank You Cat.
CAT: I’m Cat Miller and we now return you to your regular desktop.