The Day of the Speech

Coaching people for public speaking opportunities is one of my favorite elements when it comes to professional development. There is nothing better than seeing somebody positively influence an audience, generate energy in a room and possibly even change lives for some of the attendees.

During speech preparation process, my job is to answer questions while creating minimal anxiety.  Most importantly, the day of the speech the less advice, the better.  Before somebody steps on stage, the hay is in the barn – time to block out all distractions and execute!

An hour before the talk I recommend three things:

  1. A confidence-building activity that gets you a little winded such as wind-sprints, shadow boxing or pushups.  This will raise your heart rate and then allow it to smoothly recover.  You don’t want your heart rate to elevate for the first time when on stage.
  2. Deep breathing and meditation. Block out everything and focus on the way you’ll take the stage and the first words that will come out of your mouth.
  3. Your first sentence.  I don’t suggest memorizing speeches except for the first line.  Stick the landing on the first line and you’ll flow from there!

Public Speaking – Fear No More!

“Public speaking is the leading fear for all humans everywhere”.

Source: Some guy on some stage.

I can’t validate the accuracy of this adage but it is likely that people, in general, fear lack of acceptance, inadequacy and failure on both a proverbial and physically big stage. 

There are a number of ways to improve your public speaking from taking a course, hiring a coach (I suggest Ben Decker of Decker Communications), joining a club such as Toastmasters or studying a lot of great TED talks are all ways to gain confidence with such a task.

There is no reason to fear public speaking when you do the proper preparation and have strong subject matter expertise.  With that said, like with any other talent, it needs to be trained and honed to gain true mastery… or at least escape the self-sentenced prison of terror you occupy at the mere suggestion of addressing a crowd.

The best part of massive group communications is to be able to connect with the masses and pass along great ideas via positive vibes.  If you help just one person see the world slightly differently, your time was well spent!