Recently, I attended a meeting where the new Executive Director was about to deliver his remarks to his membership. He walked up to the podium, looked around and started out by saying, "I'm not a good public speaker, so I'm going to read all of my remarks. (Rule 1– Never tell your audience anything negative like this. You can imagine how we all felt!) He then proceeded to take out his notes and began reading word for word including his name, "Good afternoon, my name is…….. and then read his whole presentation without looking up. (Rule 2–Always know your introduction and opening comments and certainly don't read your name.) Who doesn't get a bit nervous before speaking in front of an audience, whether it is five people or five hundred? We all do and even the most confident speaker prepares, practices consistently and always knows that in front of any group, it is 'ShowTime'. Here are some tips to get the butterflies flying in the same formation the next time you are asked to present yourself which we all know is a huge networking opportunity.
- Take a couple of deep breaths- not too many so you don't hyperventilate.
- Walk around, stretch and be sure to take your morning walk so you are both mentally and physically prepared.
- Be Enthusiastic– it is contagious and it is the first emotion that comes across.
- Give Yourself a mental Pep Talk- watch the Olympic athletes before a performance. That is what they are doing in the quiet of their mind.
- Have a drink… of room temperature water.
- Rehearse so that you are 're hearing' your presentation.
- Maintain a Positive Attitude and Ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Your audience wants you to succeed.
- Watch the most highly viewed TED talk, by social psychologist Amy Cuddy who speaks on the psychology of power, influence and nonverbal communication and will demonstrate the Power pose.
I can tell you first hand, 'It works!' Remember what your audience wants from you:
- To Be Interested. Get their attention Fast?and keep it!
- Benefits. They are thinking of the radio station- WIIFM- "What's In It For Me" Make it the easy Listening station…
- E enthusiasm
- A rticulate
- S pecific
- Y Be yourself (Everyone else is taken!)