Heather Hansen

Does Public Speaking Make You Nervous? Try This

Does public speaking make you nervous? If so, this might be the secret weapon that will help.  I’ve been trying cases in front of juries for 20 years, and now I’m a keynote speaker, so speaking to large groups is second nature for me. In fact, when the time comes for me to stand up and speak, I start to get really excited. I can’t wait to share my tools and help the audience advocate for themselves and their big ideas.

But I have to be careful. Because excitement can sound like nervousness, and it can lead me to talk faster, and higher, and speaking in a high tone and a fast pace is not effective with your audience.  Tone of voice is a huge piece of being a good advocate. When you want to win sales, attention, loyalty and engagement, first you have to know your “jury” of clients, customers, investors or team members. Who are they and what do they want? Next you focus your message so that it speaks to them. Finally, and often most importantly, you hone the messenger. That’s you. And your body language, facial expressions and energy are important. But tone of voice may be the most important tool you have.

Your tone of voice has an enormous impact on how your jury of clients, customers, team members or investors receives you. Did you know that voters prefer politicians whose voices have a deeper tone?   Speaking slowly, deliberately and in the appropriate tone will make a huge impact on how your message is received.

Many of my clients worry that they can’t control their tone of voice. They think it is what it is.  But they do have some control. They can control their pace, modulation, and breath. And of these things impact tone. One good way to control your voice is to be aware and to breathe, and I use Jin Shin with my clients to make this happen. Jin Shin is an ancient Japanese healing art that uses holds on different parts of the body to impact certain energies.

I first learned about Jin Shin at Mii Amo spa in Sedona. When the practitioner told me that holding your thumb works to decrease worry and anxiety, I was sold. I sucked my thumb as a child, and I often find myself intuitively holding my thumb when I’m stressed. So for me, Jin Shin just made sense. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure to work with Alexis Brink, the author of The Art of Jin Shin: The Japanese Practice of Healing With Your Fingertips. You can listen to my interview with Alexis on the Elegant Warrior podcast on Monday, and she can explain Jin Shin much better than I can. What matters to me is  Jin Shin slows my breathing, makes me aware, and gives me space between my excitement and my message. And I believe it can do the same for you.

When you want to advocate to win, you need to take every advantage available to you. Jin Shin is just one way you can hone the messenger and make sure your message hits home. Give it a try.

Heather Hansen

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