The average person is more afraid of public speaking than dying - or as Seinfeld quipped, “most people at a funeral would prefer to be in the casket than giving the eulogy”.
Richard Branson “loathes public speaking,” Nicole Kidman is always nervous before a performance. Yet there are ways to tackle your presentation fears; all it takes is commitment and some quality tips.
- Preparation - The cornerstone of successful presenting is preparation. Since speaking publicly is daunting enough it’s important to be able to focus purely on delivery. Commit sufficient time to rehearsal.
- Know Your Audience - Anthony Robbins thoroughly researches his prospective audience. By understanding what drives top execs or star athletes, he tailors his material specifically to their needs.
Stage Two: Pre-speech
- Be Excited - According to Joe Ayres; Coping with Speech Anxiety, The Power of Positive Thinking, “Speech anxiety is positively correlated with negative thoughts”.
- Alison Brooks’ research, published in The Harvard Business Professor found that speakers who affirm, “I’m excited” achieved better results than speakers who say “I’m anxious” or any other statement.
- Amy Cuddy’s famed Ted Talk: “Your body language shapes who you are” asserts taking on positive body language causes physiological change and increased feelings of confidence. Apparently fake it till you make it is scientifically proven.
Stage Three: The Speech
- Speak with Passion - Robbins recommends only presenting in your field of expertise about something you’re passionate about. He also advises, “be in the moment and flexible” – making it real and raw. When you and the audience enjoy it, “you’ll be memorable”.