Overcoming a fear of public speaking
I don't like public speaking. Yet I do quite a lot of it. As a senior leader in my organisation, it is expected of me. Over the years I have done many public speaking courses. The last thing I did was a one-to-one coaching session with Maggie Eyre. I've seen Maggie work miracles with other speakers. She watched me speak, critiqued my performance and then provided feedback.
The feedback has been really helpful and was quite specific:
- Bigger gestures - I do hand talk in my presentations but they tend to be smaller gestures. It was liberating to be told. Go bigger.
- Speak louder - Maggie says that my modulation is good and I use different tones etc.. but I need to be louder. As a low talker. This one is a struggle but I am working on it.
- Metaphor - don't be afraid to use it. There has been an anti-metaphor backlash in some circles and maybe it's because we rely on metaphors that are now cliche. But I do love a good metaphor.
- TELL STORIES " ...let me tell you about..." This one is really important and resonated the most with me.
My personal tips are:
- PLAN, PLAN and more PLANNING including storyboarding
- Design your own slide deck if you are going to use one (I like the control and make time)
- Don't use slide decks unless you have too. I like them. If you use them keep text to a minimum, and use beautiful high resolution images. I started taking my own to avoid stock photos.
- Acknowledge those who contributed
- Practice again and again
- Dress to impress
- Be authentic
- Try and have fun
- Add glitter if appropriate
- Be prepared for questions
- Don't run over time
I don't think I will totally overcome my fear of public speaking but with public speaking a little bit of anxiety is not a bad thing. For me it means I am very present in the moment when I am up in front of an audience. My next speaking gig is in Sydney at the Edutech Conference. Wish me luck.