Most people are deathly afraid of public speaking. It happens to fill me up, give me a rush and it's one of the things I enjoy most. Recently, I've had a few people with some really great things to say ask for some tips to get through their public speaking events. Below are some tips that have helped me along the way.
Remember that if you've been asked to speak, it's because someone wants to hear what you have to say. You've earned the right to be there. Chances are you've forgotten more on the topic you're speaking on than your audience will ever know. Someone made a plan or paid money to hear what you have to say. You're already qualified. Don't let your fear keep you from the opportunity to educate a group of people!
SLOW DOWN. Either way, read or speak slowly. You’re going to want to get it over with and that makes you rush. Trust me. Go slow… You’ll feel like you’re talking in slow motion, but people haven’t heard this message as many times as you’ve heard it in your head. Plus, it deserves the time.
Breathe big breaths before and after every point. Pause and breathe. Pausing gives the audience time to soak in what you've shared.
Don’t focus on you being nervous, focus on the message you are giving. It’s all about gratitude for the opportunity, educating others, sharing your message and not your fear of public speaking. You are talking to people that want to hear your message so speak with confidence.
In your mind, break up what you have to say into several different talking points or stories. You have a few small things to say. No big deal. What you’re saying is a big deal, but this isn’t an hour long speech about biochemistry – something you don’t know about. You know about this!!!!
Read if you have to, but try to get up there and just tell a story. Don't try to memorize your speech. It will paralyze you and keep you from being present with your audience. Be real and present, not a perfect memorizer.
Be present. Go with the flow of the audience. If you make a mistake, crack a joke and move on. If your presentation freezes or you lose wifi - Keep moving. No one will remember the problem if you recover from it by not focusing on it.
If you get off script, it doesn’t matter. No one knows what you had planned to say so they won’t know it’s not what you planned. If you forget what you’re saying - pause and breathe, put your hand on your heart and people will think you’re taking it all in with emotion – not that you forgot. Nobody is going to give you a sash and a crown for saying the exact words as you wrote. The message is what’s important.
Put a small pebble or rock in your pocket or in your hand when you’re up there. Let all of your nervous energy go into the rock and out of your body.
Oh yeah, and don’t forget to smile!!!!!!! If you're enjoying yourself so will your audience!
I hope these tips have helped you! If you've got something to say, go out there and say it. Don't let fear keep you from sharing your story or your expertise. You've got this!