by Shelli Vasser Gilliam, Global Public Speaking Coach

Have you ever wondered how some of your greatest weaknesses can become strengths?

For several years, I’ve been focusing on speaking opportunities that allow me to advocate for people and organizations, share stories, and demonstrate what it means to overcome the fear of public speaking. As someone who previously had stage fright, I found my voice by advocating for women and children who survived tragic and traumatic situations.

Imagine overcoming your fears and shifting weaknesses into strengths while helping others.

The experience of speaking on behalf of others became an epiphany that propelled me past my fear of public speaking and positioned me for my current work. Not only has my focus and career trajectory changed, my vision to continue serving as a champion for all humanity has expanded.

As a former meetings and events producer, I’ve met and been influenced by many engaging public speakers who have spoken around the world. Each person taught me something new about myself and how to become more authentic and confident in my speaking style.

To think that for years, I allowed my fear of public speaking to hold me back.

Public speaking skills are essential for success in business and can be the deciding factor between landing a role you really want and not being called back for the next round of interviews. It could also mean being asked to work on a priority project, or not. And, it can become one of the primary considerations when opportunities for promotion are decided.

At Global Public Speaking, working with our remarkably talented team of coaches and speakers has reinforced that I am in the best place to serve others.

Here are 10 truths I learned after gaining the confidence to speak up.

  • Investing in yourself and sharpening your communication skills will help you remain competitive, especially now as organizations are looking for multi-talented professionals who possess public speaking and communication skills. 
  • “Public speaking is a skill, not a talent.” Allison Shapira, Founder/CEO, Global Public Speaking. “That means no one is born a public speaking expert.” Casey Carpenter, Global Public Speaking Senior Coach. Public speaking requires consistent practice, as well as feedback from trusted partners. Incorporating ideas from the feedback you receive will allow you to hone your skills, improve delivery, and position you and the content to resonate with the audience. 
  • Perfection is the enemy of excellence. This is a reminder that we do not have to be perfect. We will stumble over a word, or forget to say something exactly the way we practiced. Growth will come from consistent practice and being open to receiving feedback. To be an effective public speaker, we believe it is about your authenticity and confidence, not perfection. 
  • “Comparison is the thief of joy.” John Watkis, Global Public Speaking Senior Coach.  Admiring and comparing are different. You can admire the approach or style of another person. Do not waste your time comparing yourself or your style to other people. Make sure you focus on how you can add your personal imprint.  
  • Embrace your fear(s) to overcome them. This is something I wish I knew years ago. Embracing your fear(s) means leaning forward and deciding on strategies and actions that will move you from fear to being fulfilled. 
  • To know your Why You? is to discover your passion and increase your confidence. Becoming an advocate for women and children who escaped violence and trauma is the reason I am passionate about my work today. By speaking up and advocating for others, I helped the organization increase its visibility, and corporate and community support. 
  • “What you need to grow is already inside you.” William ‘Bill’ Beaman, Global Public Speaking Senior Coach. Negative self-talk holds us back and makes us believe we cannot accomplish or achieve our goals. Replace negative thoughts with evidence-based, truthful statements. Remind yourself each day of your goals and repeat your “Why You?”. 
  • Say Yes! to opportunities to speak on behalf of people and organizations that are meaningful to you. Why? Each time you speak allows you to practice. When we practice, we improve our skills and become more comfortable and consistent in our delivery.  
  • We are highly capable of having more than one career focus or interest in our lifetime. I’m a great example of how you can combine your skills, experience, and education, and move into the next chapter of meaningful work that includes helping people. 
  • Using your voice is critical as it not only helps you, it inspires, unites and empowers others. 

I found strength in my weakness and hope you will, too.

Once I gained confidence, I had the courage to speak up. The work that I enjoyed for years increased my visibility. Strong relationships and connections granted me access. My willingness to stretch further, upskill, and seek exciting, new opportunities has been beneficial.

Now, I am leading workshops with the purpose of teaching and coaching people around the world to overcome their fear of public speaking.

Would you like to learn more about Global Public Speaking and our work? Get in touch and/or connect with Shelli on LinkedIn.