Throughout the years, I’ve had multiple public speaking events but I still feel so nervous about speaking in public that every time I am secretly hoping that they will cancel the event – and every single time I go there and speak in front of many people.
The reason for why I do that? I try to push myself in those areas where I feel least comfortable because I believe it is the zone of uncomfortable where the growth happens. Only when you cross the line of comfort and enter the unknown, you become stronger and improve your skills. As Will Smith once said in an interview,
I am motivated by fear of fear… I hate being scared to do something and I started attacking things that I was scared of.
If you are like me and feel nervous about speaking in public, these are some of the things that usually help me and hopefully can help you feel more relaxed and comfortable. Back in 2002 I took a month-long public speaking class, the knowledge from which I didn’t get to apply in real life until probably 5 years later. That class taught me some of the concepts of public speaking and gave me a good foundation which I often come back to when I need to refresh my memory. Still, there is so much to learn from great speakers around the world and I, myself, am still learning, so I thought I would put some of the concepts I found useful out here for other people’s and my own future reference.
If you treat it as a conversation, you become more relaxed and engaged and actually start feeling more confident. Some of the public speaking coaches also recommend to do some physical activity immediately before entering the stage. Push-ups, jumping, running or walking warm up your body and increase blood circulation, which makes you feel in a better shape both physically and emotionally. I noticed that if you have an important meeting or even a phone call and you do 20-30 push-ups immediately prior to it, you sound much more energetic and positive.
Instead, I try to think about ways to deliver the information in the most casual and conversational way, so that even people unfamiliar with the topic could understand my point.
If needed, I do the printout after my speech or send an electronic version of the presentation to interested parties. That helps me get their full attention and the listeners don’t get distracted. In fact, I often do a presentation with just one image or one simple statement on every slide and speak through everything I wanted to tell people.
Public speaking is nothing more than a conversation from your heart about something you are authentically passionate about.
If you are in that state of mind which many people call “the flow”, you don’t care about what to say next and you don’t care about how they will perceive you – you are just telling what you genuinely care about. And other people feel it and they will share your passion with you.
When answering the question, address your answer to that specific person who was asking it in the first place and only then to the audience. It will create a stronger emotional connection and you will come across as a more attentive and caring speaker.
Hopefully, the above will help you and me become better public speakers. Please share your tips on how you prepare for important events and what you do to achieve success while speaking publicly!
Life Explorer and Startup Consultant. Moving quickly towards total happiness. :)