Now I can't be dishonest and tell you I am a great and wonderful public speaker.
However, what I can tell you is that I am always learning, trying, persevering and consistently putting myself out there. That's outside my comfort zone I mean!
I have had moments where my heart is beating louder than my voice, moments where I have forgotten how to respond, moments where I have completely forgotten what it is I wanted to say...
But through analysing public speakers in the game, I can reflect back on my experiences and think about how to progress further next time.
Feeling anxiety and nervousness before doing a speech is apparently a natural and healthy thing. I say apparently, because although that photo may tell otherwise it certainly felt as unnatural as I can remember...
But I understand it. I wanted to do well. It was important that my message was heard for the benefit of the crowd.
However, being unable to harness your nerves can cause you to spiral out of control. So collating tips and tricks from experiences speakers whilst also analysing my own progress as I delve into my fears here are some tips on how to handle your nerves and provide memorable speeches:
1. Know the layout of the place. Being familiar with the place that you are speaking in is crucial. I have spoken in boxing rings, in prison halls, university lectures, speaking courses and at events. But not knowing the room can be detrimental. Knowing how you will approach the stage, get onto the stage, where the lighting is, where the screen is showing, how the audience is positioned and how much space you have to operate in is crucial to delivering a perfect speech.
2. Know the audience. This is also something you should be very aware of as your audience group is so important as you require your speech to hit home and resonate with them. It may be worthwhile you get to know them or greeting them prior to arrival.
3. Know your material. This is very important. Every speaker has his or her own methodology for knowing their speeches and remembering how they are going to perform it. A tip that works for me is story telling. Its difficult to forget a story, although I have managed it on more than one occasion! But again that is more down to not harnessing the nerves.
4. Relax and breathe!. Now I have been told, post my speeches that I could always benefit from a few relaxed pauses and slowing down my speech, to control my breathing. Easier said than done, but it certainly helps. I have managed to produce speeches in the past where this has been the case and the difference in quality is significant.
5. Visualise your speech. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice, your body language, your tone, your pacing of the stage etc.. Visualisation is a key component in success across all walks of life.
6. Know they want you to win. The audience does not want you to fail. That I know as I have nose dived occasionally but often seen people championing me on and really driving me to finish on a high with their gestures, eye contact and demeanour. It's a beautiful thing to see that from strangers, but remember as you start to provide speeches at a higher level the expectations start to increase too.
7. Don't apologise for being you. I often pre-warn everyone of my nerves, my suffered anxiety and shyness. This I have slowly started to realise is potentially a reason behind some of my stumbling blocks in speeches. It likely amplifies my anxiety on a larger scale. Be confident and leave any doubts you have to the side!
8. Concentrate on the message, rather than yourself. This is probably the best piece of advice I received. Initially I thought it made no sense and found it difficult to really understand and put it into practice. But once you can move your attention away from yourself towards others and give them the message you wish to give, your levels of anxiety, nervousness start to reduce.
9. Harness your energy. Harnessing your nervous energy and transform it into enthusiasm and getting the message across can really help improve your speech!
10. Speak more. Your levels of confidence grow by action. The more speeches you do the more your confidence begins to grow, which will lead to less anxiety and nervousness. But remember, practice makes permanent NOT perfect.
So, that is me in a nutshell so far in my journey.
I have achieved many things in my life I am proud of, but this will be my next biggest achievement I am confident of that. Yes I can say I am proud for even saying Yes to such opportunities now, but I am confident utilising my 1% daily improvement law my speeches will start to sound more structured, enthusiastic and hopefully delivering great messages to my audiences!
Have an awesome day & #JustDeuIt