I remember my first speaking gig and I felt very wooden and very nervous. The only way you can genuinely get better at speaking in public is to just keep doing it.
You can read books, watch videos, go to seminars etc but nothing works the same as actually being on stage and speaking.
You may have heard the statistic that more people are scared of speaking on stage than they are of dying. Whether this is true or not, if you do get the opportunity to speak on stage then here’s some tips that may help.
1. To visualize the outcome, really imagine how you want it to end
2. Don't walk around the stage too much, it's not a rock concert
3. Pauses are good. Don't be afraid of the silence
4. Don't use loads of words on your PowerPoint or any slides. This will take focus off you and instead they'll be trying to read the text
5. Relax, they are not there to watch you mess up
6. Research your audience and give content that will work for them. An idea – Instead of spending the whole time delivering content, shorten your bit and then open it up to ask some questions. That way you get to prove you know your onions (weird if it's a talk on onions). It also keeps you on your toes and they walk away with their questions answered. I've used this loads of times and it really works well
7. Engage with the audience. Look at them. It's not an us and them it's us together. Take them on the talk with you
8. Before you go on say to yourself 'I love these people' and really feel it. Believe me your whole energy will change and they will feel it
9. Choose your language. Fiing and Jeffing doesn't work for all audiences. Save that for offstage unless your talk needs it
10. Get to the event early and meet the people. Mingle and network and learn something about the people and why they've turned up. You could then mention these people in your talk. 'As Kelly was saying earlier...' it shows you care.
If you are heading to a speaking gig be it your first one or you’re a seasoned pro, I wish you all the best.
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