CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – APRIL 22, 2021
HOW TO START A SPEECH WITH POWER AND CONFIDENCE
5. Starting a speech: Reconnecting with yourself
As it gets closer to the big day when you are going to deliver your talk, you can spend all the time in the world worrying about speaking. Am I wearing the right clothing? Do I have all my stuff here? What will the audience think of me? What if I forget what I’m going to say? It’s really common to find yourself in a whirl of endless questions which only serve to build your nerves.
Many people describe public speaking as an ‘out-of-body’ experience, where they become so disconnected with themselves and the audience that they are unaware of what they are doing and can’t remember a thing about it afterwards.
But the best speakers are fully present in the moment. According to Ginger coach Liz Balmford: “We can’t say for sure that they’re ‘relishing’ it, but perhaps one of the things that makes them compelling is their surrender to the moment, being fully present in their story and their message. I believe it’s this presence that makes them believable, that captivates us and makes us want to follow them.”
To start a speech with power and confidence, it is vital that you reconnect with yourself before you get up to speak. That means spending a few moments getting back to yourself by finding a method to quieten the nerves and break the distance between yourself and your speaking. You might like to head outside for a few moments or even go to the loo; or find a place that is a little bit quiet and do a short breathing exercise. Focus in on your breath as well as your intentions for your speaking.
Doing this allows you to be grounded and will help you to start your speech as yourself, rather than starting from a place of panic or self-doubt.
Many people find it helpful to start this reconnection much earlier than the few minutes before their talk – for example, starting the day with meditation or mindfulness, taking a walk in nature, or going for a run. Whatever helps you to minimise distractions and worries.
Putting it all together
So, starting a speech is not as much about what you say as you might think. In fact, the key thing about starting a speech is to get yourself in the right state. If you show your confidence, your audience will have confidence in you too. But you don’t have to start ‘all-guns-blazing’.
The biggest cause of nerves in public speaking is that most of us try to be someone we’re not; so to get started with confidence, begin by being yourself. If the kapow, kapow approach just isn’t your style, then don’t start your speech like that. Find a different way to start that’s powerful for you.
Permission to be authentic.
The key to starting a speech with power and confidence involves knowing what you’re good at and doing more of that; pushing yourself to try different ways to start your speech; telling your story; getting feedback on what works from the audience’s perspective; and staying connected with yourself as you step forward to do your talk. If you bring these elements together, you’ll captivate your audience as soon as you start speaking.