Entrepreneurs are a unique breed. We think, see and perceive our world differently than those around us. Instead of staying with the traditional status quo security of a job, we have made a step to do things differently by creating our own business.

If you have taken this step you are most likely excellent at what you do, driven by a passion and are service oriented. Now that you have opened your doors, you are ready for business. Excellent.

What are the steps you are taking to drive clients to you?

How can they find you?

When you talk, do they listen?

The one thing many entrepreneurs avoid is possibly the one thing most effective for growing your practice. I know it is, by far, the biggest fear most of us have. In fact, people will go to great lengths to avoid it.

Public speaking. That is the best way to reach the most people in the shortest amount of time. It is very cost effective. You are maximizing your time by speaking in front of many instead of one. Being a speaker automatically places you as an expert.

I have heard all the excuses to avoid being in front of a group of people. The thought of standing before a group of peers can create an aerobic heartbeat without ever having to leave your seat. It can feel awful.

Once, however, you make the decision to create your own practice everything can change. You know the benefits of speaking. As you make a commitment to grow your business, you embrace a “no-excuses” approach. What you had previously spent many years avoiding, is the first thing you will need to tackle.

Because public speaking can be fearful, I want to share my strategy to overcome your fear of speaking.

1. Embrace your message. Having a business which honors your talents creates opportunities. Determine what service you are delivering. Identify how your service, or product, improves the lives of your ideal client. Create the key points or steps for your service. Become extremely familiar with them. Base your business on your steps or key points. Everything you speak and write about will highlight these key points. You will become very familiar with them.

2. Join Toastmasters. It works. This group is dedicated to helping you get over those jitters and become comfortable with delivering your message. Their program is designed for success. It is like dipping your toes in the water to test the temperature. The best part is you get to set the pace as to how fast, or slow, you want to go through the process. By practicing in front of others, whether a formal speech or a quick response, you will learn so much. Practice. Practice. Practice.

3. Be aware of your mindset. When you focus on how scary it is being in front of an audience and how nervous you feel, you will continue to resist getting up and in front of others. You become so tuned into the fear, you will actually make yourself even more anxious. Beginning speakers perceive the audience as “them” against me. Well that does not help. As you realize what you are doing, choose to change your perception from viewing the audience as judgmental to people you can develop rapport with. Find one or two friendly faces in the audience. This change from hostile to friendly was significant.

4. Clear the energy. We all have work to do. As an Emotional Freedom Techniques practitioner, I have a very effective tool I use to help easily clear blocks with public speaking. While sitting at a Toastmasters meeting, or preparing for a presentation, you can discreetly be tapping on your wrist to stay focused, keeping yourself centered and calm. As you practice your speech at home, continue tapping for any nervousness, doubt or fear which arises. Combining Toastmasters with EFT helps clear the blocks at a faster rate than Toastmasters alone.

5. Start small. When you find yourself ready to speak there are many ways to take the plunge, you have options. Have your first talk be small, intimate and comfortable. Talk about something you are very familiar with. Decide to do your first presentation in front of a small group in a familiar setting. If your first speaking engagement is to a larger audience, do a dry-run. Practice it with a small supportive group of colleagues.

6. Breath. When you become nervous you might forget to breath. Taking long, deep breaths will help you remain calmer and more focused than shallow breaths. How you breathe also affects how far your voice will be projected. Your breathe has the ability to relax you.

The fear of public speaking can be transformed. Although it might have been overwhelming just thinking about it, or waiting for your turn, it does not have to remain that way.

The fear is not about speaking in public. People speak all the time. It is about the thoughts you have attached to public speaking. Once you clear those thoughts, replacing them with new ones, it will begin to change. By doing nothing you will continue to be hostage to those thoughts, spending energy avoiding doing the one thing which can have a significant impact on your business.

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From Loren Fogelman, the success expert, founder of Mindset for Marketing Success.