If the idea of speaking in public (or even pressing “record” on a video) makes you want to run + hide:
a) you’re totally normal.
b) this one’s for YOU :)
In this post I’ll share some of my best, most practical public speaking tips for beginners, AKA butterfly-taming 101.
A bit of background for you first:
Long before I ever started my business (+ created A Course About Copy), my first communication-related love (besides spelling… #nerdalert) was public speaking.
I was totally THAT girl who volunteered to go first, geeking out over the challenge of rising to the occasion and thinking on my feet. Loved it.
My love for public speaking eventually lead me to study communication for my bachelor’s, which led to a teaching assistantship (TCU actually paid ME to earn my master’s while teaching undergrads!).
I continued teaching public speaking at the college level for years after grad school, even getting the chance to flex my skills as “the digital ranger” who gets the of welcoming honor nearly two million visitors to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center each year.
I eventually started this business to help folks communicate with more clarity + confidence, and yadda yadda….the rest is recent Communication Stylist history ;)
But it wasn’t always that way.
I used to HATE public speaking like whoa.
In this video, I’ll share how + why that changed, including:
- the tale of how I threw the 4th grade spelling bee
- …and totally lied about making a presentation later that year (#REBELchild!)
- the moment/semester the switch flipped
- my #1 prescription for reducing public speaking anxiety
- to memorize or NOT to memorize?
- the most important thing to know about your audience
Click below to watch (or take a listen):
IN A (COCO)NUT SHELL
There’s no shortcut or magic bullet here, friend.
If you want to feel more comfortable speaking in public, the most IMPORTANT thing you can do is to practice. Out loud. In front of people.
Recreate the scene as much as possible so you can get cozy with it.
The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll get with your words.
The more comfortable you are with your words, the more you can focus on connecting with your audience.
The more you can focus on connecting with your audience, the more FUN you’ll have delivering your message.
And fun is good. And YES, totally possible.
You’ll see :)
When it comes to memorization, I do recommend memorizing your introduction and conclusion.
Because you’ll make a better first (+ last) impression if you can actually look folks in the eye.
For the body (main content-focused bit) of your talk, it’s okay to use notes..as long as you’re not reading directly from them. #snorebore
I can share all kinds of tips on delivery and such (+ probably will in due time!), but these are the two most important things I want you to take away for now:
1. You’ve got something valuable to say.
Your voice matters. Your story matters. Your experience matters.
I don’t know anyone who was born comfy (or particularly skilled at) speaking in front of others.
The only difference between those who step up and out and those who hide behind the scenes is the DECISION those folks made to step up and out.
You’re totally capable of doing this.
It just takes PRACTICE to get comfortable with it.
2. Your audience is rooting for you.
We’re cheering you on. We WANT you to be comfy up there.
If you’re nervous, it’s totally okay to break the ice and acknowledge the butterfly in the room.
If you mess up, meh – most people probably won’t even realize it.
(But again, if it’ll make you feel better, it’s totally okay to acknowledge it. We don’t expect you to reboot without flinching. You’re human.)
Realize that at the heart of it, “public speaking” just means that you’re a person standing in front of some other people, sharing a message with the intention of helping them in some way.
How LOVELY of you :)
Well, first, it’s to give yourself PLENTY of time to prep + practice if you’ve got a talk coming up (or to find a way to practice your skills by volunteering for a speaking gig if this is a prio for you).
In the comments below, tell me:
What do you struggle with most when it comes to public speaking?
What are some of YOUR fave butterfly-taming tips?
Let’s build a bank of ’em!
P.S. If you liked this post, I’d GREATLY appreciate it if you’d use the buttons below to share it with your buddies. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel if you’d like to see new videos before I’ve had time to turn them into blog posts ;)