Effective public speaking - 5 tips to save time and energy
In this post I won’t go into general public speaking tips on structure, slides and how to speak clearly.
I will talk about something that takes up much more time and energy in our lives than it should, when we are asked to hold a presentation: the WORRIES.
Worrying whether we will say the right thing, whether we will have the answers to all the questions, whether people will notice that we’re super nervous and actually don’t know as much about the subject as we should. Whether the presentation will work on our laptop, whether we will stop mid-sentence and completely lose track of what we were talking about. The list goes on and the doom-scenarios are endless.
Public speaking is such a big issue for us, not because we are physically incapable of giving a presentation or a talk. We are absolutely able to do it.
It’s all the stuff that goes on inside our heads, and the intense emotions we get from having to stand in front of an audience, that not only take time and energy, but also carry on once the presentation is over - along the lines of “Oh no, I shouldn’t have said that. Why didn’t I think of this? Why wasn’t I calmer? How embarrassing! etc.
Know what I’m talking about?
It is an ongoing process for my clients and myself to get out of this over-worrying mind and on the crazy rollercoaster ride of public speaking. The goal is not to only not let it defeat us, but face it head on. By doing that we can actually grow on a personal and professional level.
If any of what I described above fits what is going on in your head when somebody asks you “would you mind presenting this in front of the board next week?” - then check out my 5 tips to not only save time and energy when it comes to public speaking, but most likely your sanity!
1. Be very clear about why you’re speaking. Who is asking you to speak? What is your role, what are your qualifications, what is your expertise that entitles you to be the best person to speak?
Chances are that you didn’t just wake up one morning thinking that you want to hold this presentation. You are most likely in a role that requires you to speak in a representative capacity. So you have a whole organization, company or at least your boss behind you, giving you permission to speak.
2. Give yourself enough time to prepare. I know we tend to push away and procrastinate things that are uncomfortable for us. Don’t let this be you next time. Mark appointments with yourself in your agenda dedicated to presentation preparation. Download my Speak with confidence checklist to give you pointers on how to get started.
3. Be your own “artist manager”. Think of yourself like a superstar who has thousands of fans waiting for them to give their best performance. On the day of your presentation or “show” what is it that you need to be in your top form? Do you need to go to bed early? Do you need time for yourself 20 minutes prior to the presentation? Do you need to sing and dance before? Do you need to clear your schedule before and after the presentation?
4. Write down your worries: keep a notebook and pen with you the days prior to your presentation and every time a worry comes up, write it down. Take your emotions seriously, don’t just diminish them or distract yourself. Give them a voice and look at them - are they founded in reality? Could what you are imagining actually happen? Writing it down can help you process these emotions rather than pushing them away.
5. Visualize a successful outcome. I know this is kind of a given, but in our worry and doom scenarios there is usually not a lot of success. There is more failure, shame and fear. Allow yourself to feel happiness, joy and excitement AS WELL AS the usual feelings linked to your worries. Make extra time before your presentation to visualize the feeling of complete ease in front of your audience.
I hope these tips were useful. I have created an online mini coaching process called “Last minute confidence boost - presentation rescue kit, that you can check out here.
And if you have read this post and tried out one or some of my tips, feel free to send me an email and tell me about it.