The Inspired Speaker Academy
𝗗𝗢 𝗡𝗢𝗧 𝗽𝗶𝗰𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗮𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗻𝗮𝗸𝗲𝗱! 𝗡𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿.
It blows my mind that this advice still gets tossed around in the public speaking community. Especially for more inexperienced speakers.
Yes, I understand the reasoning behind the advice: you're trying to feel less intimidated and scared by imagining a ridiculous situation. You're also ruining the only reason anyone speaks in the first place – 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗮𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲.
How are you supposed to maintain a connection with your audience, engage them, 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗵 𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗯 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗺 𝗯𝘆 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗼𝘂𝗹, if you're busy creating an overlay of an alternate reality?
Here are some healthier tips to consider when you're feeling like you'd rather escape to a different dream reality than be speaking in front of people...
𝟭. 𝗥𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗮𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗪𝗔𝗡𝗧𝗦 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘁𝗼 𝗱𝗼 𝘄𝗲𝗹𝗹. 𝗧𝗵𝗲𝘆'𝗿𝗲 𝗼𝗻 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲.
When you're standing by yourself in front of a group of expectant faces, it's easy to feel like they're judging you. Like you've made yourself a target somehow and that an unfavourable outcome is inevitable.
But think about this from your audience's perspective for a second: 𝗪𝗵𝘆 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝘄𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘁𝗼 𝗱𝗼 𝗯𝗮𝗱𝗹𝘆? They're there to listen to you. They want to learn something, to be entertained, or at least for the time to pass in a pleasant manner.
Yes, you must deliver on your promise of whatever it was that brought them here in the first place. You don't want to waste their time. But within that, they want the same thing you want. 𝗬𝗼𝘂'𝗿𝗲 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗮𝗺𝗲 𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗺.
So let their investment in you, their faith in you, give you the strength and courage to be real with them and do the best you can. 𝗔 𝘁𝘆𝗽𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹 𝗮𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝗮𝗺𝗮𝘇𝗶𝗻𝗴𝗹𝘆 𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗴𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝘀𝗲𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂'𝗿𝗲 𝗱𝗼𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗯𝗲𝘀𝘁.
𝟮. 𝗧𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗳𝗲𝗲𝗹 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗲𝘁𝗲𝗹𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿-𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘂𝗶𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲, 𝗯𝘂𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗘𝗦𝗧 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼 𝗱𝗼 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗻 𝗮𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝘀𝗰𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗺𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝗲𝘆𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗰𝘁 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗺. 𝗥𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗮𝘄𝗮𝘆.
Before you open your mouth to speak. Look someone in the eyes and smile. (If you're on Zoom, make sure you choose someone who is actually looking at you.)
I know, the temptation is to look over the heads of your audience, or at their shoes, or at the picture of yourself on the screen. 𝗕𝘂𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗶𝘀 𝗶𝘀𝗼𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴.
Sure, you're protecting yourself from some potentially negative feedback, but you also have NO IDEA whether your audience is with you or not.
And when the only person you have to focus on is yourself, 𝘆𝗼𝘂'𝗿𝗲 𝗷𝘂𝘀𝘁 𝗴𝗼𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼 𝗴𝗲𝘁 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗹𝗳 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗰𝗶𝗼𝘂𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗱𝗶𝘀𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗻𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗼𝘂𝘀 𝗮𝘀 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗴𝗼.
The reason you need to do this BEFORE you speak is that 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗼𝗻𝗹𝘆 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗮 𝗳𝗲𝘄 𝘀𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗱𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗮𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲.
If you don't begin by acknowledging them, by the time you do, they will have given up on you and they'll likely be looking at their phones.
𝟯. 𝗠𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝗮 𝗻𝗼𝘁𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗹𝘆 𝗳𝗮𝗰𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗹𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗿𝘀.
While it is true that you need to make sure that your entire audience feels included when you're giving a presentation, there are no rules about how long you need to spend with each person.
Make a note of where your active listeners are, those encouraging faces that make you feel like you're doing a good job. 𝗔𝗻𝗱 𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗺.
Any time you feel yourself getting flustered or if you look at someone and they make an angry face at you and throw you off your stride – 𝗿𝗲𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗮𝗳𝗲 𝘀𝗽𝗮𝗰𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗮𝗻 𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗹𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗿 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗮 𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗹𝗹.
Let their energy feed you, comfort you, until you're back on solid ground and then venture out again. Speaking is about having an exchange of energy. 𝗜𝘁'𝘀 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗼𝗻 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘁𝗼 𝗴𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲. It's OK to receive.
This turned out to be a longer rant than I had planned, but I wanted to make sure I replaced the bad advice with something useful.
𝗗𝗼 𝗹𝗲𝘁 𝗺𝗲 𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝗶𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘀𝗲 𝘁𝗶𝗽𝘀 𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗽 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗻𝗲𝘅𝘁 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗴𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗮 𝘁𝗮𝗹𝗸.
And if you have questions about what constitutes eye-contact on when video conferencing, please feel free to reach out.
Need help speaking? Book a free Vocal Needs Assessment https://calendly.com/daniellebenzon/free-vocal-needs-assessment