CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – FEBRUARY 3, 2021 – Z
But…Don’t Wing It
Okay, yes, it’s a casual setting, but people are still tuning in to hear you…so you better know what you want to say. Whether it’s a total script or a bullet pointed outline, prepare it ahead of time. It will keep you on task, and make the whole thing run smoother. If you’re on a panel, ask for the questions so you can prep answers. The beauty of a digital frame is you can casually use your notes to guide you and no one will know. Don’t just write it—read it too. To desensitize yourself to the high stakes, it’s helpful to mirror the circumstances of your future talk. So if you can, rehearse on camera for a group of friends. Ask your friends for feedback and edit accordingly. While you’re at it, test all your tech—the event link, sound, and video to ensure you’re good to go on the big day.
If you’re presenting with others, arrange a pre-event prep call. Get to know each other beforehand and discuss the flow of who’s speaking and when. Since there will always be inevitable lag times or delays in the tech, practice long pauses between points to avoid talking over each other. A more informal chat should feel off-the-cuff, but as antithetical as it sounds, natural might need some rehearsing.
Hide Your Mess
Hosting hundreds of people in your bedroom may feel intimate and overwhelming. So…don’t. No one has to see your unmade bed or leftover pizza boxes since Zoom lets you choose your background like elementary school picture day. And though nothing can compare to those electric strobe lights, you can go from a palm tree oasis to Carnegie Hall with just a click of a button. Of course, keep in mind the formality of your meeting, and select a background that’s appropriate for the occasion.
Private is the New Public
For years, studies have shown that public speaking ranks highest on people’s list of fears. We think more recent studies will show that people are just as afraid of private speaking too. There is something intensely intimate about speaking from your home to people in theirs. But don’t get anxious…get excited. Research spearheaded by Alison Wood Brooks at Harvard Business School shows that we can actually trick our brains to use our anxiety to our advantage. If you can reappraise your emotions to say “I’m excited for this task” versus trying to make yourself calm down, you can actually use the benefits of anxiety—like alertness—to help you excel. Since you’re home, go to your closest mirror and give yourself a pep talk. And when guests start opening that digital door, remember: you’re so excited!
It’s Always Been You
Remember, you’ve been chosen to do this presentation for a reason, and the audience trusts that you, the expert, knows what you’re doing. That’s why they’ve taken time out of their very busy quarantine routines (quaroutines?) to tune in. So it doesn’t matter that you’ve spent the last week in sweats. You’re still you, and you’ve still got this.