All meaningful thoughts and quotations like e.g. Mandela’s „Courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it” mean really nothing when you’re standing in front of an audience of 5, 50, 1,000 or even bigger and you don’t feel confident and secure about giving your speech or presentation.
There are many traps that can make us nervous and anxious, like how to start, what to do with our hands, should we walk or rather stand, how our voice sounds, what if they don’t think our jokes are funny and many others.
Matt Abrahams, a great coach and the author of a brilliant book „Speaking Up Without Freaking Out” offers advice from gestures and tricks to many useful tips.
He proposes Anxiety-Management Techniques that include among others:
– practising mindfulness (calling feelings by name and evaluating them)
– developing the skills needed (by watching great speeches, and reading great advice)
– dressing appropriately and comfortable (invaluable!)
– rationally confronting our fear of speaking
– visualizing (what if we try to imagine how good and impressive our speech will be 🙂
– writing down our fears
– managing our sleep schedule and eating healthy (this will help with memory, energy and concentration)
– recording ourselves speaking and practising while listening
– ending our sentences by completely exhaling
– focusing on our audience (to be sure that we give the information that people need)
– using a structure like AS WHAT? – SO WHAT? – NOW WHAT?
– starting with a strong introduction to our presentation
HOW TO START A PUBLIC SPEAKING?
Start with passion and with engagement, this is very visible and will be felt by the audience – the magic of the first impression. While watching videos, do we need to listen to the whole speech conducted by a phlegmatic and boring speaker? No, we close it after a couple of seconds.
It’s also good to have a plan B when our presentation doesn’t work e.g. when we have some technical problems like the sound system. Can we speak with no pictures or with no microphone in these situations? If not, let’s learn to be prepared for some unforeseen circumstances (not every single one of course).
Are we ready to be a confident speaker and start our speeches with no stress? Are we aware of our gestures and the tone of our voice (tempo, melody, timbre)? Did we spend enough time preparing ourselves properly? Did we practice?
Let’s take a look at a master class in public speaking, the 2018 winner of the Toastmasters World Championships. A great 8 minutes of public speaking!