Mom's Public Speaking Tips

Over the past few years, I have had some amazing opportunities to speak in front of people from TEDx University of Edinburgh to the Falling Walls Lab in Edinburgh.  And it never changes - I am absolutely terrified right before I go on. I've gotten better at accepting my total fear and telling myself over and over - I am a vehicle for my message, I am vehicle for my message - which does seem to help!

On one of my more recent talks, I asked my mom to offer some tips for public speaking. After 30 years of experience in public relations and communications, Merrie Sue is a bit of a whiz.  Seriously, I'm not joking.

When I'm doing a big talk, I print them off and put them in my pocket. 

I hope you will to.

  1. Practice and prepare - do not read or memorize. Have note cards of some sort. 
  2. Deep breathing or yoga breathing prior to speaking. 
  3. Isometrics - push palms together tightly for a few seconds - 15 or so - then release - helps with neck tension. Keep shoulders down but posture up. Long neck.
  4. Do a sound check if necessary. 
  5. Tape yourself on your phone or have a friend listen. 
  6. Focus on the message not what you think the audience thinks of you. " If you don't tell them the message, how will they ever hear it."
  7. Be a STAR - Give them something to always remember.
  8. Don't listen to the lizard self critique - rather to the wizard's voice - the voice of reason. 
  9. Walk a bit - quick trip to the bathroom prior to speaking. 
  10. No one bats 1000 - things may go wrong. Go with the flow
  11. Use audience interaction right away - make friends with them. 
  12. A visual aid takes attention off you - however, the VA is not the star - you are. 
  13. Visualise the positive results the night before you go to sleep. 
  14. Promise yourself something fun after the presentation. 
  15. Stand on toes (a bit ) while presenting - an old singers trick.
  16. Use gestures and movement to relieve anxiety.a
  17. Get excited for your message. Channel the anxiety and use it.
  18. The first 30 seconds is the worst - like shock symptoms. Then you will hit your stride. 
  19. Meditate.
  20. Trust yourself and your message. 
TEDx University of Edinburgh, 2015

TEDx University of Edinburgh, 2015