It is fantastic to fake it until you make it when speaking in public.
I am sure you have heard it said on more than one occasion that speaking in public is a huge fear shared by millions of people. In fact, it has been said a great number of people would rather get a root canal than speak in public! However, for many entrepreneurs, bloggers and professionals, speaking in public is something that must be done, a fear that must be conquered. So, let’s get to conquering. The first thing to do when you know you have to speak in public is to prepare. By prepare I mean that you need to do some basic investigation. This is a case where the questions everyone learns in an introductory journalism or English class come into play, the 5 Ws and an H:
1. To Whom will you be speaking: you must tailor your message to the crowd. You would use one set of terms for industry professionals or co-workers and another set if you were speaking at a high school career fair.
2. What you are going to be speaking about: it is much easier to prepare the appropriate remarks if you know what you are going to be talking about
3. Where will you be speaking: you have to know the logistics. It matters if you are in your hometown or a foreign locale. You must also consider if you are going to be in a large space or a smaller office or conference room.
4. When will you be speaking: it matters to you and your audience if you are speaking first thing in the morning or after they have listened to ten other speakers.
5. Why you are speaking: there is a point to you sharing the information, there is a purpose for your words.
6. How are you going to deliver your message? Consider any props, supplies, photographs, and the like you will need to get your message across to the audience.
Once you have completed this initial preparation phase, it is time to get dressed. By getting dressed, I mean you put on your big girl panties and your fake it until you make it dress and move forward to get the job done. If you have done the research we just talked about, you are ready to do the speech. It is your job to do the speech. People have come to see you do the speech. All purposes are aligned.
When it is time to get up to do the actual talking, take a deep breath and walk slowly to where you will be speaking. Hold your head up high and walk with your back straight and strong looking. Walk to the speaking area looking like it is yours, like a runway model. Smile as you approach the speaking area. If you are still nervous, smile and wave at your imaginary friend in the back of the room. This will make it appear as if you have friends as if you have confidence. You appearing to have confidence may help the audience develop confidence in you.
The final thing you need to keep in mind is, it is ok. By that I mean you may still be nervous, but that is ok. You may forget a point or get some ideas mixed up and out of place, but it is ok. You are the speaker, just speak. If you are nervous because you are not used to giving speeches, tell the audience, they will be sympathetic and cut you some slack. Just let them know, despite your nervousness, you know your stuff and if you work together this can be a good experience for all of you. You were chosen to do this speech, you prepared to do this speech, you are doing this speech, and finally, you have done this speech. Now, walk away from the speaking area and enjoy the praise and compliments that will be coming your way.
You can fake confidence when speaking in public. So the question for you this Fantastic Friday is what is your tip for speaking in public?