According to the National Institute of Mental Health, fear of public speaking is the number one fear in the world. Approximately 75% of people express a fear of public speaking. It outranks death as a source of anxiety. Let that register for a moment - many of us are more scared to talk than to die. So why on earth would anyone deliberately put themselves in the position of sharing ideas by speaking to a crowd in public? Let’s consider four benefits to getting an idea out of our head and saying it out loud.  

Give Power to Your Purpose
Presenting our idea to an audience requires preparation. Taking the time to clearly define our idea and the purpose it serves in the world makes it feel more concrete. Thinking about how to explain the idea to others forces us to examine the elements of our idea and form a plan of action to achieve each of those elements. A clearly defined purpose has power and an excellent way to define purpose is to explain it to others.

Find Collaborators
When we present our ideas to an audience of strangers, we open ourselves up to opportunities for collaboration. By moving outside our comfort zone and sharing our ideas with new people we expand our possible sphere of influence. We never know who in the audience might be inspired by our ideas and willing to collaborate to make our ideas a reality.

Get Ideas for Improvement
Ideas that live in our head can become stagnant. By getting feedback and opinions from people who have a different perspective than our own, we might gain valuable insights that independent work alone can’t provide. It can be scary to say our ideas out loud and expose ourselves to the potential of criticism. But constructive criticism can actually help strengthen our ideas and our plans.

Build Confidence
While public speaking can be scary it can ultimately help us build our confidence. Ideas that have been road tested and brainstormed with a friendly audience are stronger than those that live in isolation in our own brain. The preparations we make for a presentation help us clarify and organize our thoughts. Finding other people who are also excited by our ideas can be energizing! Idea generation and idea building as a community exercise can give us the confidence of knowing that we can create something that people are genuinely interested in seeing become a reality.

Ready to Try It Out?
Want a chance to try it out and realize these benefits? There are plenty of ways to do just that. Up until March 31, 2023 applications are open for the EforAll Cape Cod “Blue Economy” Pitch Contest ( Ideas of how to leverage Cape Cod’s marine ecology into a business are welcome! Think commercial fishing, sea-to-table restaurants, coastal resiliency, marine science, arts and crafts using shells or found marine items. There are even training sessions on how to create a pitch. No previous speaking or pitch experience is needed.

There are also organizations like Toastmasters or Speaker Sisterhood that specialize in presenting opportunities to practice public speaking.

Regardless of how it’s done, saying our ideas out loud to strangers matters. It validates our ideas, improves them, and invites others to join us on the journey of turning our dreams into reality. Give it power, say it out loud!