Nausea. Deep and jittery-inducing fear. The urge to hop a plane and arrive somewhere where no one knows my name, preferably with a beach so I can stick my head in the sand. Mood swings. Agitation. “Who the heck do I think I am?”—over and over and over again.
And that’s DAYSBEFORE I ever hit even the edge of the spotlight.
But then the light comes up, the first power point slide shows up on the screen, and this girl is on FIRE. (Thank you, Alicia Keys.)
After, people ask me for tips on delivering a talk like that. And my first response has always been “I have NO idea.” I have no idea how someone introverted like me can do that. But I’ve gotten to the point where I have a routine. I think I kinda got this down. And I’m ready to share.
Here they are. My
Tips on Speaking in Public, for Talks that Rock
Every question is universal. Everyone will benefit from your answer. So answer to the room, after you repeat the question so everyone can hear it.
Get them to raise a hand if they agree, or say ‘yes’ out loud. They’ll get jazzed on the high of taking that tiny step towards overcoming their own fears of speaking out in public.
“So, this side of the room is all jazzed and hyped on this, and then there’s like this slow slide down to this side over here, where everyone’s all down in the dumps.” Truth is funny. People will laugh. And suddenly, everyone in the room is smiling.
Ask the organizer about your future audience: Who are they? What are they like? What are there concerns, interests, fears?
The spontaneous stuff is the good stuff. “It is no small thing or selfish thing to pursue what makes you uniquely and deeply happy. It’s your birthright, your purpose for being on this planet, and the greatest gift you can give to the world.” That was some good riffing…and it wasn’t in my notes outline.
Don’t use jargon. If you do, define it. Poke a bit of fun at it. E.g. “…which is a big fancy word that basically means giving it a rest.” Be accessible.
Don’t hold back. Speak from your essential self and let your social self be on vacation . The more at ease you are, the more at ease your audience will be.
Talking points will remind you of what you’re going to say. Reading entire paragraphs will make you think you need them.
Use visuals. Great images that convey a feeling—how do you want your audience to feel as soon as they walk in the door? What image will help them get there?
Before your talk, listen to music that pumps you up. The car is blasting my kundalini class dance tunes when I’m on my way to give a talk. Choose songs that your body remembers feeling great while moving to. You’ll start to feel great. State dependent memory is amazing like that.
The night before, do something that helps you relieve the stress hormones from your body. Exercise does this best, especially aerobic.
See #11. Plus, before bed drink hot milk, do some gentle yoga, meditate, read a book to take your mind off it. Whatever else works for you.
See each person in your audience as a soul in a body. The man who’s skeptical is scared. The girl who is not participating is uncomfortable with her own self. It’s not you. It’s their stuff. And they need love, not fear.
Meditate. Get still. Tune in. Ask the universe for help, to be there with you, to speak through you.
You are doing this because you can. You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it.
I just wrapped my happiness talk at the City of Coquitlam, as part of their lunch and learn series. Pardon me while I hide out and not talk to anyone for a couple days now. This temporarily extroverted introvert is recovering.