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January 15, 2019 / catherinebwrites



It’s top of the list of human fears and yet, Public Speaking is something we have to do as part of our job. So we write the stuff down with the butterflies in our stomach fluttering through entire life cycles. We go to the microphone, the butterflies start to throw up. We grip our script like it will save us from drowning. We read our words aloud and…. we bore the pants off everyone.

Is that what you want?

I’ve been to many, many conferences like that and there’s only speaker I still remember. The audience was very mixed audience in age,education and levels of interest. And yet, every one of us was riveted. Afterwards I asked what her secret was.

“If you really know your subject,” she replied, “you should be able to explain it to an intelligent five year old.”

So that’s the first rule. Know your stuff.

The moment you step onto a stage you can feel the energy. It’s the audience. They’re hoping you’re going to be fabulous, hoping you will engage them, inform them, entertain them. For who in their sane senses would pack a case, arrange travel, stay in a hotel and attend a conference in the fervent hope of being bored to tears? Who would dress up and go out to a show, a lecture, an event in the fervent hope that their time would be wasted?

So, the moment you step in the stage the audience energy comes at you like a wave. And there are there three ways of approaching that wave.

  1. “EEEK – they’re all looking at me.” Freeze, make a dogs dinner of your speech and embarrass your audience. Not great.

2. Put an imaginary barrier between you and the audience. E.G. Imagine them naked. This is the most common approach. It works… sort of. You’ll get through your speech but, your audience will be bored witless.

3. Look your audience in the eye. Feel the wave coming at you, step on to it and surf it. Now you’re communicating. Now your audience is engaged. Even if they disagree they’ll enjoy listening. Even if you make mistakes they’ll forgive you and love you for being, not just a good speaker but human as well.

So that’s the second rule. Nobody’s there in the hopes of being bored.

On top of that you’ll get the buzz, you’ll love it, you’ll come off stage high as a kite. And you won’t be able to wait for another chance to speak in public again.


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