CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – NOVEMBER 12, 2020 (PT.2)
6) Be yourself
You’ve been asked to speak for a reason – so don’t feel like you need to pretend to be someone else. This is coming from someone who battles with Imposter Syndrome. People want to see you speak – not a robot. They want to hear from you, hear about your experiences, hear your story, your way of explaining your area of expertise or experience. Use humor, emotion, and whatever feels natural. Allow your essence to shine through. The audience may not remember everything you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.
7) Watch yourself back
Watching your playback is a painful but effective way for you to tweak what you’re doing. I can’t stand watching myself on camera, I zone in on all the things I dislike about myself. – Hyper criticism of the small stuff aside, in playback, I focus on what I’m saying, which allows me to recognise annoying behaviours like saying ‘errrrrm’ or ‘like’ every two seconds. I’m from Manchester, it’s in my DNA to say ‘like’ but having a raised awareness around it allows me to be more conscious of it so I can improve my public speaking by eliminating it from my talks.
Top tip: Practice your talk in front of a mirror or record and watch the replays to see what your body is doing. Some movements, such as hand waving can be unconscious!
8) Beat the nerves
- The more prepared you are, the more it will help calm your nerves
- Get to the venue early and become familiar with your environment – check out the room, how you will get on stage, where you will be sitting/standing etc.
- If you have the opportunity, say hello to the host and fellow panelists to build a rapport before you get on stage. I suggest doing a little research beforehand.
- Take 5 minutes before you go on stage to ground yourself and take 5 deep breaths
- Stay hydrated. Be sure to bring water on stage as it can also be used as a reminder to pace yourself
- Smelling lavender can also apparently help too!
- Take every opportunity to speak (and not about diversity!)
- As people of color, the world should hear our story. Take the opportunity to put yourself forward for speaking engagements and hold the door for others by connecting them with the event’s organizer. At TOB, we call this passing the mic.
- The only way to get better at anything is to practice. While rehearsing is a great idea, nothing compares to the real deal and speaking in front of an audience, so put yourself forward as a speaker as much as you can.
- Share details of any speaking engagements on your social media and professional sites. You never know who will see it and invite you to speak.
10) Enjoy it!
The audience has no idea what you’re going to say next – so no matter what happens, you’re always in control. Go with the flow because people respond to the energy you exude. Enjoy yourself, and your vibes will be infectious!
Make It A Champion Day!