Glossophobia – the fear of public speaking – is said to be experienced one time or another by 75% of the population.

Yet, speaking engagements can be a great way to build your content brand and audience. A recent survey by Hinge Marketing found 67% of respondents identified speaking engagements as an impactful marketing technique – that’s more than any other tactic on their list.

67% of those surveyed picked speaking engagements as an impactful marketing technique via @HingeMarketing. It also can be a revenue opportunity for creators. #ContentEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

Speaking also can be a direct revenue opportunity, such as an on-screen host of a Twitch stream or an in-person event speaker, for content entrepreneurs.

Jam Gamble

But formal public speaking doesn’t come naturally to every content creator. Jam Gamble understands its power – and why many shy away from opportunities that could make all the difference in their business. With nearly 41K followers on Instagram, the public speaking coach honed her skills on a public television show in Toronto that amplified the voices of people with disabilities and a local TEDx series where she was given the freedom to “wing it.” Soon, she was speaking at other local events. Six years ago, she launched her coaching business, coining the nickname #SlayeroftheMic.

“The more I was doing those events, the more people would be asking me when I got off stage, ‘How do you do that? How do you go on stage and just tell jokes and light up the room?’” says Jam. “I didn’t know how I did that because it just came naturally to me. I wasn’t classically trained.”

1. Don’t strive for perfection

As it turns out, Jam didn’t need traditional public speaking training to shine; she just needed the freedom to address audiences in a way that felt comfortable and authentic to her. And today, through corporate training programs, virtual learning, and private coaching, Jam helps students not just frame the subject matter of their talks but get comfortable with their voice.

In her work, Jam sees plenty of barriers identified by her students – concerned about stumbling over their words, saying “ah” and “um” too many times, being seen as an expert when they haven’t seen others like themselves do it.

None of that matters, Jam says. “You have to be human. That is the criteria. You have to be a human with a voice who believes in what they have to say. That’s all you need.”

Don't worry about ums and ahs in your public speaking. @IamJamGamble says just be a human who believes in what they have to say. #SlayTheMic #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

Some people limit themselves by waiting for the “right time” to seek a speaking gig. They worry they won’t be perfect. But, taking it one action at a time will help you improve. “Stop overthinking and just start,” Jam advises. “When I look back on my journey as a speaker, the first vlog out there, the first episode of my TV show, that is not who I am right now. I don’t sound like that right now. It’s a journey.”

In deciding how to address a topic or whether to accept a speaking opportunity, Jame says the answer lies within you. “It comes down to trusting yourself, believing in what you’re putting out there, and just feeling it and listening to your gut,” she says.

“In the words of Ms. Frizzle,” says Jam, name-checking the fictional star of the popular Magic School Bus children’s book and TV series, “make mistakes and get messy.” 

Don’t give into imposter syndrome when intriguing speaking opportunities come your way. Potential hosts who ask you to speak already are interested in what you have to say. They’ve vetted you by checking out your platforms; they picked you for a reason.

Asked to speak? Don't give into imposter syndrome. The hosts already are interested in what you have to say, says @IamJamGamble, #SlayerOfTheMic. #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

“If somebody is approaching you, half of the work is already done. If somebody is saying, ‘We have this opportunity; we want to hear you and introduce you,’ why are you asking yourself if you’re the right person,” Jam says.

2. Don’t worry about a hook

Traditional public speaking programs prompt students to come up with a “hook” — that nugget of information that grabs your audience’s attention. Don’t worry about that. Focus on the unique story you have to tell.

“You are the hook,” she says. “Believe in yourself first and foremost.” 

3. Don’t listen to everyone

“Be wary of who you’re getting feedback from,” Jam says. “Not everyone (should be) allowed to give you feedback or should be giving you feedback.”

The most important feedback comes from within, she says. But don’t use that as the chance to judge your abilities only through a critical lens. Instead, focus on what you liked best about your performance – maybe your eye contact was on point or your introduction was great. For example, Jam counsels her students to write down five things they like about their voice. “And then, find the areas that you need to improve on,” she says.

Get comfortable with #PublicSpeaking. Write down five things you like about your voice. (Advice via @IamJamGamble #SlayerofTheMic #CreatorEconomy) Click To Tweet

4. Don’t guess

As they prepare for a speaking engagement, Jam says you should answer two questions:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What is your intention?

You would address students in a fourth-grade classroom differently than executives at a corporate retreat. “When you know who your audience is, that’s going to help you determine how you’re going to sound, the examples you’re going to share, the stories you’re going to share,” she says. “My message is going to change depending on my audience.”

Your intention (i.e., sell, motivate, encourage, educate) will inform the beginning, middle, and end of your speaking. “It doesn’t have to have this perfect linear flow to it,” Jame says. “But when you know who you’re talking to, you know what your intention is, and then you trust yourself, you’re going to make magic happen.”

5. Don’t be silent

Set your speaking goal for the year, such as being the host of a new YouTube channel or going to a big-name event and standing on stage. Then, say your goal out loud and tell people what you want to achieve. 

Set your public speaking goal for the year. Say it out loud. Tell people what you want to achieve, says #SlayerofTheMic @IamJamGamble. #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

“The more you say things out loud, you [won’t be] thinking that this is some grandiose impossible idea,” she says. “You’re going to start believing that there is a really good chance that it could happen.”

Watch and learn from some of the best public speakers in your content entrepreneur community this May at the first-ever CEX: Creator Economy Expo. Check out the speakers, topics, single-event tickets, and Never-Ending Ticket opportunities.

About the author

Sarah Lindenfeld Hall is a longtime journalist, freelance writer, and founding editor of two popular parenting websites in North Carolina. She frequently writes about parenting, aging, education, business management, and interesting people doing remarkable things.