Public Speaking: it is what most people dreaded.
If you ask me, I would prefer my whole day to read books, write some articles, cook food, wash the dishes, do the laundry, even mop the floor, than to do a few hours of public speaking!
Public speaking whether you like it or not will come knocking at your door of opportunities. You have to grab it as an opportunity.
I have met a lot of people who are really so good at their technical jobs. They have really brilliant ideas about process improvements that could benefit the whole company. There is no doubt that they are very knowledgeable about their assignments.
But when asked to present their ideas to the management, they chicken out. So, what would you expect? The improvement would not be implemented. Their ideas would just remain in their heads.
Ernie Baron once said that “Knowledge is Power!” That is not entirely true! Knowledge and ideas alone are useless. They have to be put to actual action to become useful. They have to be shared. They have to be communicated to the public!
So, if you have brilliant ideas, which you think could change the world or at least could benefit others, do not be afraid to speak of them. Find an opportunity to share your ideas!
I believe that there are two things that hinder us from doing public speaking.
1) We fear of being ridiculed, being humiliated, being laughed at. And we don’t want to commit errors in front of the public, such as wrong pronunciation of English words, wrong grammar, and so on and so forth.
2) We fear that when we speak, no one would want to listen to us. We fear that everything we say is pointless, not interesting, and of no value. We fear to be embarrassed.
On our fear of being ridiculed, I’d like to share with you some tips that work for me. And it is in the acronym “ENJOY”
When you are given a chance to speak in front, regardless of all your anxiety, your nervousness and your fears, all you have to do is ENJOY!
As they say, Life is short. Time is fast.No replay, no rewind. So in EVERY moment and EVERY opportunity you have, the best way you can do is to ENJOY!
E stands for Exercise or Practise. Practice proper breathing. Practice to control your nervousness. Practice how to use the projector, the microphone, and so on.
N stands for Nurture you Audience. Put yourself in the shoes of the audience. If you were one of them, what would you want to get from the presentation? If as an audience, I wanted to be inspired, then as a speaker, I would share my stories, the challenges I've experienced, the lessons I've learned. If I wanted to be informed as an audience, then as a speaker I have to gather the necessary facts and data to support my topic. If as an audience, I wanted to be alert, then as a speaker I should make sure that no one in the audience is not sleeping. As a speaker, show that you care for the audience, by giving to them what they wish to get from your presentation.
J stands for Juice it up! It means you have to make your presentation dynamic, interesting and alive! If slides are necessary, then maybe you can put some cute little creatures to the background to spice this up. If outrageous body language is necessary in your speech, use bold gestures.
O stands for organize your thoughts. Use transitions when moving from one subject to another. As an emcee or event host, make sure you have the outlined program. It will be your guide to drive the program smoothly.
Y stands for yield. It means to surrender to the moment you have. Let go of your inhibitions, your worries. Leave your personal problems at home. Be present in the moment!
On our fear that no one listens to us, I’d like to borrow the acronym of one of my favorite TED speakers Julian Treasure HAIL.
Honesty – Be true to what you say.
Authenticity – Be true to yourself.
Integrity - Being your word. You must not to tell your audience to do something, which you are not willing to do yourself.
Love – I don’t mean romantic love. To wish people well is enough. Honesty is good. But it can also be brutal. Honesty, sprinkled with a little love can be a powerful tool.