Speaking in public is second only to a death in the family as the most stressful human activity. However, people give great public speeches every day! Here are some tips to ensure that your next engagement goes well whether you are a panelist or a keynote speaker.
- Show up as a giver. You were chosen as a panelist/keynote for a reason - people have already earmarked you as someone with something to say. Accept this honor and come to give, not to take. This will help to reduce the pressure.
- Speak slowly. Your attitude will follow from your behavior. If you speak more slowly than normal, your body will naturally move into a more relaxed state.
- Make eye contact as soon as you walk out on stage. Take control of the narrative - the person who initiates eye contact is the one in control. You do not have to be mean or aggressive. Just do it and watch the positive ways that people respond. It will give you confidence!
- Define your nervous energy as excitement. Realize that your body is responding in exactly the way that it should. That so called "nervous energy" is your body giving you the extra boost that will allow you to bring a superior performance. Would you rather your body make you sleepy instead?
- Take in each moment. When you get nervous, you naturally look to the end of an experience. If you slow your mind down and focus on each word as you say it, you will gain confidence as you realize that everything is going quite well.
- Expect naysayers. Public speakers take the responsibility of responding professionally to criticism. Expect it in the eyes and the posture of at least 10% of your audience so that when you see it, it does not surprise you away from your purpose!
Just remember to have fun and be yourself and whenever you are feeling nervous you can feel free to refer to these fun tips for speaking engagements!
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