With the rapid growth of the mobile food industry, more and more food truck owners are finding themselves in front of groups and television cameras.
Those who find public speaking daunting (and who doesn’t to some degree?) may think they need to become better actors to improve. Acting rarely helps, though.
Don’t try to be someone else such as your favorite TV celebrity chef or channel some smooth-talking alter ego. Focus on being exactly who you are. While some people may be natural public speakers, most have to work hard at it. Practice organizing your thoughts, modulating your voice, and connecting with your audience. This isn’t a matter of rehearsing what you’re going to say. It’s practicing the skills that allow you to be flexible and capable every time you are up in the front of a crowded room or camera.
While it may seem like a stretch for a daily tip on a food truck trade magazine, if you take the time to think about it, this topic is becoming more and more important. The mobile food industry has been infiltrating municipalities since 2008, and some food truck owners are becoming local culinary stars. Constant requests to appear on the various press mediums is making it more important to know how to speak in public whether its in front of a reporter, on a local news program, or even presenting at a trade show or culinary school.
What you should remember is that butterflies in the stomach, waning confidence, sweaty palms – even people who regularly present in front of audiences get stage fright. You may not be able to eliminate your fear completely, but here are four ways to help you handle the symptoms:
- Focus on your audience. Pick a person in the crowd and speak directly to him. Then find another person and deliver your next message directly to them.
- Re-label negatives as positives. Instead of considering your symptoms of stage fright an indication of nerves, think about them as signs of anticipation or excitement.
- Avoid rigid rules. Don’t be overly focused on what makes a good presentation. There are no set rules.
- Remember that you don’t look that nervous. Research shows that self-assessment of presentations is often overly harsh. If you assume you look calm and relaxed to your audience, you will.