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5 Ways to Look Forward to Public Speaking

Public speaking is scary – and it’s certainly one of the most feared things amongst us humans. The thought of standing up in front of people, some or all whom you may not know, telling them things they may already know. The fear that you are going to get found out, that someone in the audience is going to ask you something on purpose that you don’t know the answer to. The fear that you are going to forget what you want to say. The fear of no-one clapping at the end.

It is just over 10 years since I first faced up to these exact fears and did my first public talk. I’ve been very privileged to have been invited to speak at a range of national and international events and conferences since then, but at the end of the day, this has only happened by me facing up to my fears of public speaking.

If you haven’t ever done a public talk yet, I’d like to share with you what helped me 10 years ago and still does today.

If you are planning to do your first public talk, maybe at MeasureCamp, hopefully what has helped me can also help you in some way.

Here goes, 5 ways to look forward to public speaking.

  1. Be passionate
  2. Be yourself
  3. Be humble
  4. Be genuine
  5. Be prepared

 

1) Be passionate

From the talks I have watched over the years, by far and away the ones which have least engaged me and what looks like most of the audience is when a speaker isn’t really passionate about what they are talking about.

Think about what you do, and think about what it is that you are most passionate about in your work.

Your public talk will come across more powerful and more engaging when you are passionate about what you are sharing.

2) Be yourself

If you’re not naturally a comedian or the life and soul of the party, don’t feel the need to suddenly transform into someone you’re not when you stand up to present.

If you are a big character, just be yourself. Don’t feel you need to become more reserved or hide on your quirky side.

The more genuine you are, the more the people watching you are likely to enjoy listening to you and be open to listening to the passionate things you are sharing.

3) Be humble

Humility can never be underestimated, when it comes to developing trust, being heard, developing relationships, to developing yourself continuously.

Of course, you should be passionate about what you are going to talk about, but never get to a point where you feel like you know more than everyone else.

Be open to inviting questions from the audience – if you have an answer based on your experience to date, great, share that. If you don’t really have an answer to the question, don’t worry, and certainly don’t try and make an answer up just to seem like you have an answer. Simply say that isn’t something you currently have experience or a strong opinion on.

4) Be genuine

Don’t expect things to all go smoothly. Also, don’t expect things to go badly. Simply be genuine when you are doing your talk. If you forget what you planned to say, don’t worry. If you need to, improvise a little. Make fun of a situation is the clicker stops working.

You’re not a robot and your not a seasoned speaker who has been on the speaker circuit for years. Simply be genuine, take some deep breaths, and look forward to enjoying the experience.

5) Be prepared

Preparing what you are planning to talk about, whether with slides or simply with the story and experiences you are planning to share, is important. If you attending an upcoming MeasureCamp and considering doing a talk, download the session card so you can fill it out in preparation

What is even more important, is being prepared to realise, when you finish your talk and you start getting feedback from people who have watched you, how you have value inside of you that you didn’t realise you had.

I hope this helps give you the confidence that you can overcome your fear of public speaking, and that you look forward to presenting for the 1st time!

 

Paul (@paulroukeprwd.co.uk)

MeasureCamp Manchester committee member

 

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