Speaking in public terrifies many people. As scary as it can be, public speaking is the kind of professional activity you may have to ask your employees to do sometimes, so it’s important to help reluctant or inexperienced team members learn helpful strategies to overcome their fears and deliver an effective address. When your employees can comfortably get up in front of a potentially unsympathetic audience and make the case for your business, a whole new world of brand marketing, joint ventures, and new opportunities opens up for you.
One of the best ways to encourage your employees to get over their public-speaking jitters is to start them off with a mock speech. In a mock speech, you assign a topic they should be familiar with, give them anything from a few seconds to a few days to gather their thoughts, and then stand them up in front of fellow employees for a dry run. To do this effectively:
- The audience should be mostly filled with people you know the employee gets along well with. This reduces the strain and helps get things going by bolstering confidence.
- Include a few strangers from a different department, if possible. This gives the speaker a more realistic feeling of professional distance and encourages concise, clear thinking while explaining things to the strangers.
- Include a bit of time at the end for constructive feedback, ideally from everyone present.
Once your employee has gotten comfortable talking about your company in front of strangers, she’s ready to become a brand ambassador who can put your name in front of new markets and potential business partners with confidence and a persuasive demeanor. Perhaps even better, she can also help train other employees in effective public speaking techniques and exponentially increase the role public speaking plays in your company’s success.