ASK SITARANI: TOP 5 PUBLIC SPEAKING TIPS
“I still get nervous every time I have to speak in front of a camera or a crowd. What are some go-to tips to tackle these nerves and give the best performance possible?”
Fear around public speaking is among the most relatable in our culture. Yet did you know there is little physiological difference between feeling nervous and feeling excited? Our bodies respond in nearly identical ways: our hearts race, our bodies release hormones, and our senses become heightened as we prepare for the unknown. Oftentimes, if you reframe your symptoms as excitement, it will take the edge off and remove the cloud that blocks your memory. So, have a laugh, take a deep breath, a sip of room temperature water, and walk out with a smile reminding yourself that you have an exciting message to share.
- Exercise before a video shoot or presentation. Physical exertion increases blood circulation, oxygen and endorphins while relaxing muscles so you feel calmer and happier. Simple movements like yoga or “power-posing” will do the trick – and possibly give you the laugh you need to remember you’re excited, not nervous.
- Eat ahead of speaking. Avoid caffeine and simple sugars which can make you feel jittery, and have a snack that contains healthy fats and tryptophan, such as dates and cashews. These choices will stabilize your blood sugar and give your brain the nutrients it needs to focus.
- Rehearse. Rehearse. The idea is to know the sequence of your content so well, you don’t need to think about it, and it rolls off your tongue like you’ve said it a thousand times. If you sound rehearsed, it’s actually a signal you haven’t yet rehearsed enough. A couple ways we rehearse clients we coach for public speaking are to:
- Practice with a voice recorder. Listen to what you’ve said, upgrade your written messages to more closely mimic the way you actually speak, and record again. This repetitive process improves your comfort with your message, the authenticity of your message, and commits it to memory.
- Enlist a friend or your coach to make surprise phone calls to you in the days leading up to your engagement. Have them ask a question that will be used in your interview or for a section of your presentation. This non-face-to-face approach creates memories of delivering your content in lower-pressure situations and surely produces funny moments you can call upon to remind yourself this is exciting, not nerve-racking, work.
Lastly, the easiest way to ensure a confident delivery is to stick to three strategic messages. Conventional wisdom suggests a person needs to hear something ten times before they will remember it. When you keep it simple, not only do you reduce the burden on yourself, but you increase impact. Bennet Group can help you plan your content smartly so you get the ROI you need from a speaking engagement – audience action. And nothing reduces nerves quite like knowing you will be effective.