With sweaty palms, hairs spiking on my forearms and goosebumps rushing from head to toe, I stood up to shake hands with the previous speaker on stage. Before facing the audience, I drew in a deep breath and turned with an enthusiastic smile. Never did I think that I would be one to volunteer to talk in front of a crowd, let alone multiple times on deep personal topics.

Over the years public speaking has become something that still gives me a brief knot in my throat. However, I wouldn’t trade the personal growth and confidence I have developed because of it for anything.

Here I have provided 5 keys to help you get started on your public speaking journey:

  1. Look into coaching. There are a variety of resources that can help give you the practice and confidence you need. Register for a public speaking class at your local community college, hire a speaking coach, or get involved with a leadership group such as Toastmasters. Here you will learn to draft organized speeches that will make it easy for the audience to follow.
  2. Choose a topic you are passionate about. The more relative a topic is to your own experiences, the easier it will be to talk about. This is where you may speak from your heart to break up any statistics or scientific data you may decide to use throughout the speech. Be sure to include a call to action when closing to spark inspiration and motivation with those who are listening. It is incredible how much a speaker can connect with an audience who may be able to relate.
  3. Start small. Public speaking doesn’t have to be fancy, especially when you are first starting out. Create a YouTube channel, plug into local wellness events relative to your topic or area of expertise and utilize social media tools such as Facebook and Instagram live.
  4. Volunteer whenever possible. Practice makes perfect. Until you get your face consistently out and in front of people, this vision may remain between your ears. Consistent action is absolutely necessary to get practice and exposure. Speaking for free and hosting workshops is a great way to get practice until you feel ready to charge for your services.
  5. Maintain connections. My very first public speaking event occurred during National Body Image Awareness week at the University of Wyoming in 2014. If I had not kept in touch with the committee, I may have not returned to present for the following 3 years. Networking is crucial, but maintaining connections is just as important.

I cannot explain how much my business has benefitted from taking action and diving into public speaking. Not only has it given me confidence to speak my mind on issues, but has helped me acquire my new occupation as a Corporate Wellness Specialist and utilize my skills to formally educate others on wellness topics. I am more likely to introduce myself first in social gatherings, which makes networking much easier. The relationships I have developed with speaking mentors and event hosts are lifelong. Though it is still a learning process, I have become much more efficient organizing ideas and thinking quickly.

If you are a fitness talent, I encourage you to be brave and step outside of your comfort zone. You have a message the world is waiting to hear. It would be a disservice to those who need to hear it if you keep it bottled up.

Kierston Mills is a personal trainer, Wyoming corporate wellness specialist, and the founder of FearfullymadeFIT. After spending her college years struggling with body image, yo-yo dieting, and relationship with food, her heart is set on helping others live a confident, balanced, and active life. FearfullymadeFIT, a faith inspired fitness movement, was created to act as a reminder that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Her services can be found on her website at www.kierstonmills.com as well as on Instagram @fearfullymadefit.