Who hasn’t had a bad, embarrassing or totally off based engagement where you were christened as the person to speak publicly and you totally bombed?
Let’s say you’re part of a new team, a committee of sorts and you and the team are going to review a power point to get things rolling, and you’re deemed to be in charge of a various section of slides.
You think to yourself, “I got this,” and then that moment hits.
You’re on deck, next to speak and you totally lose you willpower and crack under pressure.
Your voice isn’t assertive, you are short of breath and that mouth is becoming dryer by the minute.
Yes, that experience is telling and traumatic all in the same breath, but the public speakers that know they’re good, or even the ones that aren’t as adept at it, know that one bad apple can’t spoil the bunch. Simply put, that bad public speaking experience shouldn’t define your career as a person who perhaps needs to be able to lead a meeting or speak in front of a group but can’t due to your fear that what just happened could occur again.
The key to public speaking really isn’t the idea of speaking, making jokes or trying to hard to succeed at it. Much like anything else, you need two things: practice and a penchant for knowing the subject matter and topic inside and out.
Part of knowing the topic is research but also practicing it as well as the two aspects of public speaking go hand in hand. The research means you have found a central theme to what you’re saying and everything else falls into place as you build the perfect speech and start going over and over it until it almost is committed to memory.
Another characteristic of a public speaking who is equal parts poignant and poised is knowing their audience and not trying to hard to wow the crowd as if you’re doing some sort of comedy act. The idea behind a competent speech is feeling comfortable that the information is tailored to who is listening.
If you’re presenting to your boss, you might want to get a little more technical, rather than perhaps pitching to investors who want to know how the topic at hand is going to benefit them without knowing the nuts and bolts of the business but rather how they get from point A to B. That goes back to finding a speech that is specific.
The trick is putting yourself back out there, almost as if that first experience was the bad date you know you can get over if you just give it another shot, and be opened mind that maybe the next time out, you’ll knock it out of the park.
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