Public speaking has earned it’s place in the Fear Hall of Fame over and over again… each day with each person who does their own version of freaking out over stepping in front of the room to present, perform, interview or just have all eyes on them. I hear this from clients all the time.
It sounds like;
- -“I’m terrible at it!”
- -“I sweat-stutter-stumble-etc. so I just avoid it.”
- -“I never know what to say.”
- -“I’m afraid someone will be recording it, and it will end up on social media!”
Every month is public speaking month personally and professionally, but summertime has graduations, weddings, reunions and no shortage of events to grab the microphone.
So SAY something.
Make your moment with the mic count. Give people a memory, make an impact, get them to feel something. Change them.
The word “conversation” literally means “changing together.” It is a shared moment when you have the chance to get everyone in the room to see what YOU see. Share a story. Paint a vision. Get out of your head, and into your heart. Be personal.
Before you take the mic, there are a few things to consider to set yourself up for success.
- Prepare! This doesn’t mean to write a script, or to be perfect. Bullet points with key trigger words will suffice, but only if you are prepared.
- Practice! Once you know what you want to say, practice! It won’t start to REALLY become memorable until your 10th time giving the same talk, so burn the first 9 while in front of a small audience or in your car.
- Be present! By centering before you take the stage, it reminds your brain that the adrenaline flowing through it is only temporary. But the body that is carrying you to the stage is the thing that will give away that you are nervous, tenuous, or freaking out. Amy Cuddy gives a popular TED talk where she talks about the power of non-verbals.
- Own it! After it is over, linger a bit. Don’t run off of the stage. Giving a public talk is like an energetic wave crashing over the audience. That energy wave HAS to be completed, and it’s done through audience applause. Wait 10 seconds before leaving the stage. Sure, it’s a little uncomfortable at first, but it is like being given a gift (applause) and throwing it to the floor if you don’t stand there and accept their appreciation.
Lastly, if you are someone who doesn’t welcome the microphone being passed your way, I challenge you to lean into it. FIND occasions where you can take the mic in less-risky environments, and work up to leading the presentation at a corporate retreat, or speaking in front of an auditorium of 1,000.
The power given to the speaker in the form of a microphone can be life affirming for both the speaker AND the audience. Chances are that someone has ASKED you to speak, which means that THEY believe in you. So now it’s YOUR turn to welcome the opportunity (and the influence) and SAY something that may change people for the better.