Possiblers – Public Speaking! Arrrggghh – most of us would rather swim with sharks right?! It doesn’t have to be this way. In fact the satisfaction and enjoyment of giving an informative and enjoyable talk is second-to-none. Whether you’re giving a TED TALK, chatting with the Boss or talking to a room full of friends, the theory is the same.
Want to get better? Read on – Here’s our top tips and linked examples and tools to get your head around what seems like such a simple thing.
The Power of Belief – Thought Wills Action
This simply means that how you think and plan things before-hand are really important. It’s not necessarily HOW you prepare but the way that you do it. What you should definitely be doing is thinking “this is going to be awesome!”, or “I can’t wait to share my ideas, research with everyone”. The power of positivity wills positive results. Think about whenever YOU watch presentation. At the beginning – you are pretty neutral right? Willing to see what the person wants to say. If they are super excited and pumped up about their topic it’s infectious! You may not know anything about what they’re talking about, but if they’re happy, bright, upbeat and positive then you feel that way too.
So put yourself in that position! They would have been just as nervous, you just have to be actively mindful of your state of thought. If you don’t think you can force it, fake it! Fake it till you make it! hahaha. You’d be surprised how much this helps. Check out my Facebook post on becoming a Group Fitness Instructor for a related story – I was SOOO nervous, and LOVED every second of it. Basically guys – Psych yourself UP, not OUT.
Nervous Energy Is Good!
Feeling fluttery? Like you can’t stand still? Perfect! That means you can employ a fantastic engagement skill – walk around! Seriously. Shuffling on the spot looks awkward and doesn’t help. Walk around the area. It gives people something to focus on, it engages them with changing angles and depths of views, and it helps give you a release for the pent up vibes. Walk around, actually walk. Swaying creates a hypnotic, sleep inducing state – avoid the human metronome.
Force yourself to breathe slow and controlled. Innnnnn……ooouttttt. Pause when you need to. It adds meaning to what you’re saying and gives your audience time to digest the last point. Give yourself a solid 2 or 3 seconds between statements, breathe, reset. Smile at your audience, look 2 or 3 people in the eye, strike a pose – they’ll love you for it. A really interesting quick resource is the TED TALK by Amy Cuddy on how to power pose.
Remember that the audience likes you.
The audience — as big, scary and remote as they may seem — is totally on your side. They want you to have a good time up there, they want to hear your ideas, even if they don’t agree with them, and they want you to succeed. Enough said.
Know Your Topic – NO PALM CARDS
The best speakers sound like they’re having a conversation with you right? Even though you’re not saying a word back. it sounds natural. That’s because they know their content, and the order they want to deliver it, but they tailor it to each audience individually. What this means is they DONT MEMORISE AN ENTIRE SPEECH. It’s too hard and you stress out over getting something wrong. It sounds like a robot. What you should memorise is the order you deliver your key points and practice talking it through OUT LOUD – seriously this is a MUST – five or six times so that you know your content. You don’t have to say the same thing each time, or even how you rehearsed it. If you have aides, like a slide show, have headings that can prompt you. Palm Cards, paper pages, Ipads are a trap. If it’s there, you WILL use it, stress out and there is nothing more boring then watch someone read. It’s better to engage your audience, maybe miss a couple of things you wanted to say, but really NAIL that engagement. If an audience is bored, they’ll miss everything you say anyway.
Vary your tone. Get excited about what you are delivering! Its worth talking about right? Hand gestures, loud exclamations, soft undertones – mix it up! Have fun with it! Practice it. Fake till you make it 🙂
And Finally, Be Comfortable With The Unexpected
You may forget a bits and pieces, something technical might not work – the audience will find humorous if you do too! And at the end of the day – being eventful and fun is what it’s all about. Facing your fears can actually be enjoyable and addictive once you start. Have a look at our article on the same topic. Jodie from AIP has a great read on facing a fear of prolonged, deep water swimming.
Set yourself some small goals – actually there is a useful challenge tool in our eBook if you wanted to use that (it’s free) so why not? Grab it here. Each day, try and talk to someone new, and try some new speaking skills. There’s only one way to get better right?
Go for it Team – Pete.