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.
- Practice and prepare - do not read or memorize. Have note cards of some sort.
- Deep breathing or yoga breathing prior to speaking.
- 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.
- Do a sound check if necessary.
- Tape yourself on your phone or have a friend listen.
- 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."
- Be a STAR - Give them something to always remember.
- Don't listen to the lizard self critique - rather to the wizard's voice - the voice of reason.
- Walk a bit - quick trip to the bathroom prior to speaking.
- No one bats 1000 - things may go wrong. Go with the flow
- Use audience interaction right away - make friends with them.
- A visual aid takes attention off you - however, the VA is not the star - you are.
- Visualise the positive results the night before you go to sleep.
- Promise yourself something fun after the presentation.
- Stand on toes (a bit ) while presenting - an old singers trick.
- Use gestures and movement to relieve anxiety.a
- Get excited for your message. Channel the anxiety and use it.
- The first 30 seconds is the worst - like shock symptoms. Then you will hit your stride.
- Trust yourself and your message.