Nervous talker? Speaking too fast? Here's what to do
Has any of these situations ever happened to you?
You’re in a meeting. You plan on flying under the radar, hoping no one notices you. All of a sudden, you get called out. Your heart starts racing and you get panicky. What are you going to say? You blurt out a few, jumbled words, speaking way too fast. You can’t wait to be done! When you’re finished, you’re out of breath and can barely remember what you said!
Or: you go to a networking event. You want to grow your business and be known as an expert in your field. You shake hands with someone, and they ask you, “What do you do?” You have no clue how to answer and, again, a jumbled mess of words comes out of your mouth. You try to fill every millisecond of silence, so that you don’t have to awkwardly wait for the other person to say something. When you’re done, they look at you confused and walk away.
These are common scenarios so, hey, at least you’re normal!
Here’s what’s usually going on:
Too many things to say: You have too many things to say and you don’t know which one to choose. You’re so EXCITED about EVERYTHING that you can’t seem to be able to streamline your thinking.
Too few things to say (or so you think): You think you’re not interesting and you have nothing to say, whether personally or professionally. You start speaking in order to be DONE as soon as possible. You hate awkward silence and having the attention on you.
Imposter syndrome: You’re afraid that, once the spotlight is on you, you’re going to be found out, and people will know how unqualified and not legit you are. You dread being visible, and hope no one notices you.
Worry about others’ opinion. Instead of focusing on yourself and what you truly want to say, you think there are things you SHOULD say and that others want you to say. So, as soon as you start speaking, you focus on others instead of yourself, trying to fit into what you think they expect from you.
Here’s what you can do:
Find the root cause. If you have too many ideas that get jumbled in your head, find a speaker coach that can help you streamline your thoughts and convey them in a succinct and powerful way. If the problem’s deeper, like with insecurity or imposter syndrome, go inwards and find other types of support, like a therapist or life coach (I’ve used both, as well as countless books and self-development resources).
Practice the 1-2-3 Method. Before you start speaking or before you answer any question, take a deep breath and count to 3. It will seem like an eternity and, initially, it will make you very uncomfortable, but it's going to make you a more powerful communicator, stat!
Don’t be afraid of silence. Silence is not only ok, but it’s also the most powerful form of communication. It allows your words to “land” in your audience’s ears so that they really get what you’re saying. It also makes you instantly more charismatic. It take guts to just BE in silence, but it’s magical once you get there.
Don’t be afraid to finish your sentences. Stop when you finish your sentence and practice the 1-2-3 Method. It will give you time to think about what to say next, and help you avoid those dreaded filler words … uhmmmm … ahhh … sooo.
And if you want more tips on how to be more charismatic and powerful in your speaking, these posts will help:
The REAL secret behind irresistible charisma
3 (unconventional) tips for irresistible charisma
Help! What do I talk about?
And now, your turn:
Are you a nervous talker? Do you speak too fast?
If your answer is “Yes,” which tip are you going to use?
Let me know in the comments below.
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