Part One – Reducing your fear of public speaking several weeks ahead of your speech
I’ve worked with many clients on the fear of public speaking. You are not alone! I always ask them where they feel they are on this “1 to 10” scale, and I pose that question to you as well. One attorney told me he was a “36”! Most feel they’re around a “7 to 10”. No matter how panicked you feel, I guarantee these suggestions will move you towards a “5”.
- Have a PMA – Positive Mental Attitude. Imagine that you’ve already given the speech and that the event was a resounding success.
- Recite a mantra – We are excellent negative self-talkers. When you begin to beat yourself up, click to your mantra. Mine is: “I know that I know and the audience will love hearing what I have to say.” Saying something like this will help you focus on your audience and not on your misery.
- Prepare – Having coached hundreds of clients one of the best tactics to reducing nervousness is to plan a presentation that is well organized. I work with executives and teams on putting information together in a way that is fun to present, easier to remember, and more retainable by the audience. Some quick tips here: Less is more – you do not need to include every piece of data (but do provide back up info online or in a handout). Use 3 main points/reasons/categories – easier for you to remember and for your listeners to grasp. Include stories, analogies, quotes, metaphors and humor – THIS is what makes speaking more fun and memorable.
- Practice – I hate the phrase “practice makes perfect”. No one’s perfect! It’s like setting yourself up for failure from the start. How about – “Good practice techniques will improve your performance and minimize your fear.” Good practice techniques include – you time your message, you rehearse to another kind human being (not the mirror), you tape yourself, you do some advance research on who will be in your audience so that you can relate more effectively. If you are presenting an all-day event it becomes too cumbersome to practice the entire message ahead of time. For this situation practice your beginning and ending (crucial) and how you will transition between your beginning to your first main point… second main point… third main point… and to your conclusion.
Next week’s blog: Part Two – Reducing your fear of public speaking the day of your speech
Karen Cortell Reisman, M.S., author of 3 books and President of Speak For Yourself®, works with organizations on how to make more money. It’s all in how you speak for yourself. Read more at www.SpeakForYourself.com.