Less Drama in 9 ways.
Sometimes just the thought of having to present a topic and speak in front of an audience can send our hearts racing. If you are imagining right now that in 30 minutes you will have to present yourself in front of an audience of 100 people – how do you feel? Not very comfortable, right? When we focus on the fact that we have to present something and hold a speech, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves and our task becomes very dramatic. Maybe it's because we have had bad experiences with public speaking or no experience at all and it terrifies us to fulfill people's expectations. Luckily there are ways you can take the drama out of public speaking and keep things in perspective. I have put together 8 ways for you to be able to stay with both feet on the ground and not
give in to the drama– it is not a set number, you can also create your own: Number 1: “I am just sharing information” or “I am just a facilitator of information” Maybe it can help you to think of yourself as just a means to an end. You are the person sharing information that somebody has asked for. Maybe it was you suggesting to present your topic, then you have had at least 1 person in charge say “Yes, that is of interest” to you. So that's what you do. You prepare the information that is relevant and you share it with your audience. Nothing more and nothing less. Number 2: “I am just one of many (or several) in this room who will be presenting as well”. This obviously just works if there actually are others presenting as well. So if this is the case, it's great. You can think of yourself as part of a group. The reason we get so anxious to step in front of an audience is because we feel singled out and are no longer part of a group. Even if you will be on stage or on the podium on your own, you can still think of yourself as part of a group that will be presenting that day. This way you will feel less pressure on you. The pressure is shared between each member of this group. Number 3: “ I have prepared this well, I am doing the best I can” This works if you have actually prepared what you are about to present, which I highly recommend. If you got informed on short notice and it wasn't your fault that you didn't prepare anything, stick to the second part of this sentence. You will do the best you can under the given circumstances. If you have prepared your speech well, then that is all you could have done. So, great – no drama! Congratulate yourself on your great preparation work. What comes after that might be beyond your control. You prepared it, you deliver it. End of story. Number 4: “It just has to happen, it doesn't have to be perfect!” Nobody expects a miracle from you or to have the time of their lives. Depending on the setting of your presentation, chances are quite high that it doesn't have to be an epic performance. That is a good thing. Since nobody is expecting amazing entertainment (or drama), you can relax and just show what you prepared and do the best you can (see Number 3). Number 5: “It is not about me, it is about the topic” I know that people say it's just 10% content and the rest is body language and voice, but don't worry about this as you give your presentation. What I have experienced is that it helps to focus on your topic on an emotional level. If you are really motivated and interested by your topic , it will show in the way you deliver your speech. So then you don't have to think what to mechanically do with your hands during you presentation . Number 6: "Some people in the audience will be really interested in what I have to say” The emphasis in this sentence is on SOME - don't take it personally. You don't know how many people in the audience will actually be listening to you or checking their e-mails on their phones. You also cannot really control that. Of course you can deliver a great speech, but there are always some people in the audience who are not interested in what you say. It's just like that. Or some will disagree with you. That's fine. As long as you focus on the people who ARE interested in your presentation, you will get much more energy from them and feel more confident about yourself.
Number 7: Reflect. Take a moment and sit down with pen and paper and think what went well and what could still be improved. Try to be as honest with yourself as possible. And if you're thinking "Nobody was listening to me!" - take into consideration the following: did I adapt my content to my audience? Where they listening to me out of interest or where they there because they had to be? Was it too technical or complicated for my audience? Did I look at them or was eye contact difficult for me? Honestly assess, what could have been the reason.
Number 8: Get feedback from someone you trust. If you have a colleague you trust or a friend who is listening to you, ask them what they thought of your presentation. Ask them to be frank with you so you can grow as a public speaker. Write down what they said, so you can go back to it at a future presentation.
Numer 9: Let go. After you've reflected and decided what was good and what could still be improved, let it go. Don't obsess about it. Obsessing about things you cannot change anymore is a waste of time and is the epitomy of drama. LET IT GO.
Were these tips useful? How do you dramatize your public speaking gigs? What would it be like for them to be less dramatic? Let me know in the comments below :)