Whether it’s a presentation, an important meeting, or an interview; no matter how confident you are about yourselves there is just this one time when your heart doesn’t stop beating!
It’s not easy to talk to new people, not easy to talk to people that are trying to judge you, not easy to talk with people that are searching for a mistake to point out…
I personally consider myself not a bad public speaker, yet, there is always this one exception; this one time where I feel as if it is the first time I ever speak! Here are some pointers that help me cope with such cases and I am sure that they will help you as well.
Some pointers apply to a presentation more than they would for a meeting, yet you can always take what suits you best:
- Know your audience: Start by doing a research about the people you are about to meet, and their company, or organization. This will give you an idea about what to expect and it sure will ease the pressure.
- Gather information: The more you have information about the topic, the more powerful you are, and the more confident you feel. Do a thorough research and make sure that you master the issue at hand.
- Visit the venue: if it is possible, try to see the venue before your event takes place. This applies to a training venue, but not to a meeting or interview where you can always check out the address making sure that know where it is.
On the day of the event!
- Arrive Early: Arriving early will give you breathing space. If you are coming to a meeting or interview, be there 15 minutes earlier not more or else you will look very eager! If it was training, the earlier you come, the better so you can set up your space and start rehearsing.
- Breath, breath and breath: it is scientifically proven (I don’t have the exact resource at the moment! But…) that breathing relaxes you (something related to endorphins), so take a deep breath, hold the air inside your longs, then slowly exhale, do this process for several times and you should be calmer. Try it out right now! 1, 2, 3… how does it feel?
- Get to know the place: as you are waiting for the meeting or training to start, look around you, get to know the place a bit well, familiarize yourself with it, and walk around. Walking in patterns as you think or rehearse can he also therapeutic.
When the event starts
- Start with an Icebreaker: one of the most efficient techniques that I have found useful in starting any public speech, meeting, presentation or others is an icebreaker. It can be a joke, a game, a specific comment… just judge your audience and select which type of icebreaker suits your audience and give it try. Don’t worry, if it fails, you will still live. Start by practicing icebreakers with the people that you already know, and once you master this technique you sure can do it with strangers.
- There’s always one friendly face, someone that is fully concentrated with you: this will take you to another level. Take advantage of that but make sure to vary your eye contact.
- Take criticism positively: it’s not always heaven on earth, some people might criticize you, a lot of people might have contradicting opinions; make sure to take them positively and never ever personally.
After the event
- Reflect on the event: replay the whole thing in your head writing down the positives and negatives. Once finished, you can draw conclusions and write your lessons learnt. This will definitely make the next time a better experience.
- Send follow up messages: don’t just let it go, always follow up and keep in touch with the people you have met. It’s a small world; you never know where you will meet them again!
- Finally practice, practice and practice since practice makes perfect.
Do you have other pointers that I did not mention? Any other rituals that you do? Share them and let’s all make public speaking easy!