Results of a survey about speaking once found that people would rather die than speak publicly. Rather extreme, wouldn’t you say?  So, being too nervous to be an effective speaker puts you into a rather large group of people that feel the same.

This same fear and how he overcame it, is featured by today by Richard Branson.  Here are some excerpts.

“I loathe making speeches, and always have. I deliver a lot of them these days, but it’s almost as true today as it was when I first spoke in public as a student some 50-odd years ago.” “I still break out in a cold sweat just thinking back to the excruciating experience.”

Sound familiar?  He also points out the need to overcome your fear because:

“As you launch and grow your business, you will likely find yourself making presentations to potential investors, rallying your employees at crucial moments, and representing your business to the media.”

4 Tricks to becoming a better speaker

1) Sir Branson suggests using the advice given by Gavin Maxwell, author of “Ring of Bright Water”.

Picture yourself in a small intimate setting with a few people like a group of friends around the dining table while you relate your stories. This has reduced the anxiety for Richard Branson and it has worked well for me as well.

2) Branson says practice your speech until you are dreaming it and then when you are ready to deliver the talk, it will flow from you easily. Churchill wrote that for every minute of his talk, he practiced 60 minutes.

3) Quoting Churchill,

 “A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt: long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.”

Plan discussing a topic in depth for only 25-30 minutes.

4) Referring to Mark Twain, who is known as both a highly acclaimed speaker as well as “home-spun author”:

“Impromptu speaking — that is a difficult thing . I used to begin about a week ahead, and write out my impromptu speech and get it by heart.”

Twain further stated on the topic that “there are only two types of speakers in the world: 1. The nervous. 2. Liars.”

Branson uses this quote to illustrate that “even the best and most experienced public speakers still get nervous, so if you find yourself dreading giving a speech, don’t fret about it. A touch of the jitters sharpens the mind, gets the adrenalin flowing and helps you to focus”

The irony is that you are speaking all the time, every day as health professionals.  You’re explaining procedures, techniques, and health issues to patients, colleagues, and friends.

Expand the scope and it will further establish you as an authority in your field, bring in more patients, garner ore respect and even increase your revenue when you are known as a medical speaker.