Since I’ve been making the rounds lately at various digital conferences, I’m constantly asked about public speaking. So many people are terrified of it because they’re either:
c.) Or a combination of the three
Whether you’re presenting at a conference or a status meeting at work, the best thing you can do is to acknowledge your fear and then just go for it. True, you may stammer a bit the first few times, but then, you’ll get the hang of it. What’s the worst thing that can happen? No one is going to get up and walk out, so what do you have to lose?
I have two pieces of advice: First, it’s called public speaking, not public speeching. What I mean by this is that it’s essential to remember that you’re speaking to people and not at them. Invite your audience to join in the conversation, as this should be a dynamic, rather than a passive, experience.
Second, try not to focus on the entire room. Instead, pick out a few people in your audience and speak directly to them. You’ll engage your audience on a much more personal level and it’s a far less intimidating experience once you know you’ve reached one person.
If you’d like to see examples of some truly amazing speakers, check out TEDtalks. My favorite presentation is from Nigel Marsh, who spoke at TEDxSydney about the importance of not letting your employer determine your work-life balance.
What are your experiences with public speaking? What advice would you give to someone who has to speak in public?