Public speaking. Just the thought of it makes most people shudder. All those eyes on you…what if you lose your place? What if you fumble something? Are you speaking too loudly? Too quietly? Too quickly? Please don’t ask any questions!
If you dread speaking in front of an audience you’re not alone. Surveys have ranked it high on lists of peoples’ fears, right beside the death of a loved one or being diagnosed with a serious illness.
So if you’re faced with the prospect of speaking in public, how do you conquer it?
There is no shortage of tips on how to get past this fear so I won’t bore you by repeating them here. But I will tell you what works for me.
One of the most pleasurable experiences I had promoting Raincloud was my Raincloud Reading Series. As an extension of my book tour, I contacted several GTA writing groups and asked if they would like me to read from my novel and talk about my self-publishing experience. Most welcomed me, and my presentation got great feedback from the various audiences.
And now I plan on branching into other areas of public speaking, all using my simple method of intertwining my passion into any topic to give a potentially mundane presentation a real boost.
So how does my shameless self-promotion help you? Well, the secret to my success was that I was just being myself, speaking about something I felt passionate about. Many people are generally shy about discussing unfamiliar topics, but when they are given the opportunity to speak about something they care deeply for (whether it be their children, their career, or a pet) they can talk your ear off. By using their passion as the backbone of a presentation topic, anyone can impress an audience and give them something to remember long after they’ve left the stage.
Audiences can be sophisticated nowadays and will certainly spot a phony. Be yourself. And if you still get the shakes, fall back on the classic underwear trick.
Richard S. Todd is a Canadian author, blogger, and public speaker. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.