If just the thought of having to present or answer an impromptu question at an upcoming meeting makes your stomach tie in a knot, your hands sweat and your heart race, then this is for you.
Before you dismiss the idea of practicing the thing you fear (public speaking) we’re here to tell you why virtual training is THE best way to start overcoming your fear of public speaking and to build your speaking confidence.
First-off, a common question that we’re asked (and you might be thinking) is “will virtual public speaking and communication skills training really help?”. And our answer is a resounding: yes, 100% it can. In fact, our program was developed around virtual delivery due to the important training benefits it provides. Let’s explore them now👇🏻.
1. Virtual training is an important first step in the confidence-building process
Speaking can be a *very* intimidating experience for those who are just starting their public speaking journey. Often, there is an assumption that in order to start practicing, you’re immediately going to have to stand up in front of an in-person audience and speak. It’s true, that many training programs do force their participants to do just that. But when it comes to overcoming a fear and building confidence, this approach is usually not effective and can instead erode the participant’s confidence (instead of developing it).
For example, when psychologists work with patients who struggle with a specific fear (let’s say a fear of dogs) their solution is not to put them in a room full of golden retrievers, no matter how cute the dogs may be. Instead, they start off by inviting their client to just look at a picture of a dog. Then, once they are comfortable with that, they will invite them to look at a real dog from a distance. Then stand beside the dog. Then pet the dog….until, they feel comfortable enough taking the dog for a walk (and one day, might even be excited to walk into that room full of fluffy goldens!). This technique is called exposure therapy and is used to treat phobias and anxiety.
The point being, overcoming a fear is a step-by-step process and when it comes to the fear of public speaking it works in the same way. One that starts with goal setting (e.g. having the confidence to deliver a company wide presentation) followed by breaking that goal down into smaller, more manageable objectives (e.g. asking a question during a meeting) that you can tackle over a period of time.
Virtual training serves as that important first step as you work towards your larger goal.
Why? Because virtual training is often less intimidating than speaking in person, and therefore is an ideal place to start as you work your way up your own exposure hierarchy (whatever that may be). Once you get more comfortable speaking virtually, then you will feel more willing and able to participate in those in-person public speaking opportunities that may once have seemed extremely daunting.
2. Virtual training helps you practice more frequently & consistently
A key pillar of the confidence-building process is to practice frequently and consistently. Think about when you first started to learn how to ride a bike. At first, you probably felt nervous. Nervous you might go too fast, fall and maybe even scrape your knee. But the more you rode, the easier (and less nerve-wracking) the experience became. Until eventually, you didn’t give it a second thought and just hopped on your bike and went on your way.
Public speaking and communication is a skill. A skill that, like anything else, requires ongoing practice – just like learning to ride that bike. Virtual training is an excellent way to promote consistent (and frequent) practice since attending training sessions are so simple, easy and convenient. No fighting traffic, finding parking and battling snow and rain. Virtual training removes all the barriers so that you can keep your practicing consistent and ongoing which is what learning a new skill is all about.
3. Virtual Training Is More Accessible
Public speaking and communications programs are typically offered in cities where there is a larger population density making it difficult for those who might not live in the area, to access this important type of training. Furthermore, it also requires participants to commute to and from the training location for each session, which can be prohibitive for those who have longer working hours, have child-care commitments, rely on public transit, and live in colder climates where there is snow (and lots of it). With these barriers, it’s easy to see how attendance – and practice – can fall by the wayside over time.
That’s the great thing about virtual training; it’s completely accessible wherever you are in the world. It’s as simple as logging into a meeting from your computer, whether you’re at home, at work or on a beach in Mexico. You have the ability to continue practicing your skills, wherever you are in the world so you don’t miss a beat.
4. Virtual training is more affordable
If you’ve done any research on public speaking and communication courses, you know that they are expensive. Why? Because a large part of the training fee is actually going towards things like:
- Room rentals
- Facilitator parking
- After hour staffing
As a result, the cost of the training session can be prohibitively expensive (we’re talking $1.5k-$3k for a 4-5 week course). Virtual training removes expenses that are typically passed on to the client (that’s you) for things you don’t want or need, making it a much more affordable option, especially for those who are just starting out.
5. Virtual training can expand your professional network
Finally, because virtual training is so accessible, people from various cities across the country can train, practice and build relationships together in the same sessions. This present a great opportunity to meet people beyond the local business community who may turn out to be your new mentor, employer, client or friend.
Key takeaway: virtual training is a great option for new speakers.
At the end of the day, if you’re looking to build your speaking confidence, tackle feelings of nervousness/speaking anxiety, and want to practice consistently, virtual training is a great first step as you work towards your larger speaking goal.