Written by Millionaire’s Digest Team Member: Seth Nelson
Founder & Owner of: The Art of Being Unforgettable
Millionaire’s Digest Team, Contributor, Entertainment and Successful Living Writer
There are a very select few people that have absolutely no problems speaking in front of a crowd of people. One of the best speakers I have ever known, my dad, once told me, “It doesn’t matter how many times I have given the same speech in front of the same people, I will always have a butterfly in my stomach.” To this day that is something I think about every time I speak in front of any kind of crowd. You know what, that butterfly is totally ok. Check out our first tip!
1) Everyone is nervous!! So what!! Don’t let the nerves get to you. This is the most obvious tip that anyone could give you. You will then look at them and roll your eyes with the classic cliche of “Easier said than done.” I want you to take a look at your situation from a different point of view, though, every single person that is sitting there about to listen to you has and will have to speak in front of people at one point or another, and every single one of them will be full of the butterflies. Why does this even matter? They aren’t up here right now! It means that they understand. They get it if you have a stumble here or there. You don’t have to be 100% perfect in every inflection and pronunciation. In fact, if you do stumble over a word, laugh about it! Being a real person makes you easier to listen to. Let’s be clear, though, you don’t have free reign to bumble through this speech, which leads me to my next point.
2) Be prepared. Stumbling through a speaking opportunity is the fastest way to lose your audience. They will spend the entire time you are on stage thinking about how you just can’t seem to get it together. The way to combat that problem is to make sure that whatever happens you can roll with the punches. By roll with the punches, I mean that if something were to change and throw you from your “scheduled speech” i.e. Someone has an important question that diverts the direction you were headed. If you know your material so well that even a screaming baby can’t throw you off your game, then you are ready to get on stage. The best way to be prepared is not to have everything written down word for word. This lends itself towards the stumble. If you are even slightly off with a pronunciation or misread one word you have written it can derail your flow and wreak havoc. However, if you have main points written down and you have prepared and studied your subject, then whatever happens in front of you, it can be taken in stride and your speech is like a single flowing river.
3) Practice. You may be saying you just told me to be prepared! Practice and preparation are hands in hand, yes, but the act of practicing your speech is so integral that it deserves its own bullet point. More important then the act of practice is the method. As I have mentioned before knowing the speech word for word is going to cause stumbles and “um’s”. Practice doesn’t mean to read it 153 times. You need to be in front of people! Grab a spouse, a son, a daughter, even a stranger and deliver your speech to them. Be clear, though, you are not looking for feedback from them. YOU need to get used to being in front of people. Period. Doesn’t matter who. The feedback will come later in another point.
4) Get Feedback. You can’t have feedback from just anyone, though. That’s why we don’t want to hear the feedback that the stranger has to give. Let’s get our feedback from someone that we know will be totally honest. That knows the subject that you’ll be speaking on as well as anyone. You! We all have a smartphone or a webcam on a laptop easily at our disposal these days. Be sure to set it far enough away that you can see all that is around you as well because those hands you got moving all around need to be captured as well.
5) Be Yourself! This is the most important and also the hardest one to follow. Once on stage everyone wants to become this expert. Let me tell you something, experts are BORING!! No one wants to listen to someone drone on and on, but the guy or gal that everyone in the office knows and loves already, that person is way easier to listen too. You don’t have to be hilarious or crack jokes, (in fact I don’t recommend that) but if you are certain to be you, you relax and instantly become easier to listen and relate to.
These are just a few quick steps and there will be and are more tips on my blog at theartofbeingunforgettable.wordpress.com.
Article Credits: Seth Nelson
Millionaire’s Digest Team, Contributor
(ForBooks, Family & Life, Writing Bloggers & More)