Let's face it, next to spiders, public speaking is one of the most dreaded activities many of us will face.
For me, there would have been no way in your know what, would I have considered getting up in front of a group of people, small or large, and speak. I choose to flunk college courses in stead of presenting to a class. Seriously how ridicules is that? But it happened-so I totally understand the fear of public speaking. You are putting yourself up in front of a group of people to be judged, to be criticize or so we believe, but actually, getting past the initial gut twisting fear, public speaking can be one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself.
This changed however, when I began reenacting. Now I am not saying that the fear disappeared immediately. Nothing could be further from the truth. My first presentations were accompanied with cold sweat and shaking hands. Seriously, I had to hide my hands with a prop they were shaking so bad. But guess what? I made it through, I didn't die, and I continued.
I have now spoken in front of rooms of 20 people to an entire conference of over 300! I spoke as costumed characters, which helps, as it is not YOU who are speaking but that person, who can voice "their" opinions and not yours. Not all of us have that option of "hiding" behind a character, but that we have to put our real selves out there.
I have to laugh at how many people have come up to me through the years, and tell me how they could never do what I do. they could never speak in front of people. I quickly tell them, I suffered from that disabling fear, but preserved and can not speak a bit more comfortably in front of groups of people. Its never easy, I still get nervous, but I have learned many tips through the years that I would love the share with you, to hopefully help you get past the fear, and step into who you are meant to be and the message you are needing to share.
1. Believe in Yourself: That is the biggest one! You are smart, you are talented you have something to say. If that weren't the case, you would not have been given the opportunity to speak to begin with. Think of that for a moment. For instance, if you have to speak in front of a group of people because of your job-if you were not capable, you would not now be in the position to have to speak.
2. Rehearse-plan out what you are going to say. Write it down! Spend a great deal of time speaking through what you want to say and the message you want to convey. You will receive insights of brilliance that you don't want to forget-thats when you need to write them down so you don't forget them. You want your speech to flow naturally and not be read or recited as a script. Be yourself, but know what you are going to say ahead of time. You will be nervous and with that you may forget those gems of brilliance. Having those gems so engrained in your subconscious from rehearsing, they will come out automatically. and chances are, even better gems may spring forth while you are speaking. My favorite rehearsal spot is in the shower! Speaking out loud where you won't hopefully have interruptions.
3. Visualize-may sound a little woo woo however, many of the best speakers in the world use this exercise. Picture yourself giving an amazing speech, and you will give that amazing speech. Picture how to you will walk, how you will talk.
4. Bring in the Big Guns- Through many of the online groups I am in, I have met many practitioners of alternative healing techniques. One of those is tapping-EFT. You can find many vidoes on line illustrating this method so I won't go into here, but check it out. It works! With one of the sessions I had, my guide, asked me to visualize angels, lots of angels standing behind me, while I spoke, protecing me and guiding me through the time I am putting myself in that vulnerable position. How could you possible fail with a back up group like that!
If angels are not your thing, then find something that is and make that your power focus. Tap into that energy that is around you.
5. Plan out the night before what you are going to wear. Yes a bit simplistic, but the last thing you need to worry about is putting on the dress you thought would fit only to discover is does not. Been there done that---put your entire outfit together, from head to toe, including your jewelry so it is the one thing you may not have to worry about.
6. Arrive early. Nothing worse than stressing yourself out on the way there because of some idiot on the road doing something stupid that will cause you to be late.
7. Spend a few moments alone to go through what you need to say in your head or quietly out loud. Get you game face on and be ready.
8. Take several deep breaths to calm your nerves-don't drink alcohol-
9. One of the most important things to remember is that 9 times out of 10 you will know more about your topic, be it work or an organization you are involved with than those in your audience. Don't be afraid to share your passion of why this is important to you. Be yourself. There is only one YOU and YOU are here for a purpose and YOU have the talent and ability to do what YOU need to do.
10. Have fun!! This is the most important tip. Enjoy what you are doing-enjoying sharing your message and knock them dead.