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The Newb Net

The New Beginning Network

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The Newb Net

The New Beginning Network

My Approach to Public Speaking

By Jordan Margaret Robbins | September 23rd 2019

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When I was younger, I never really stood out in photos. I very rarely put myself forward for things and all in all, was pretty invisible. I didn’t mind it! I learn through watching others succeed and fail.

Up until I join a networking group, where I had to speak every week!

At that point, my invisibility vanished! I had no significant public speaking experience, ZERO! Although it wasn’t that I had no confidence, or that I stayed invisible because I was shy… I just didn’t care if I was the lead in a show, or the best looking in class.

So this new experience, brought feelings to light that I didn’t even know existed. When I speak about things I know inside and out, I am confident. When people ask me to speak about things I know, my body asks, why? It does this in forms of sweat, and stuttering… these magical things I didn’t know my body could do!

So I started to learn through my successes and fails, and not other peoples! Now and forevermore, for as long as I live, I understand the importance of preparedness. So I am, if not overly, always prepared.

Three years on I now speak a minimum of ones a week in front of 25 – 70 people, without even a, flinch!

And you know what? It gets easier! Not that I showed I was nervous in the beginning, but that I now don’t feel nervous.

We all at some time during our lives get put in a position where we have to speak in front of an audience. It might not be every week or for a really important event, but it will happen. Whether you’re speaking at your brother’s wedding, addressing your team, teaching a course or speaking to a judge. I know we all don’t want that pit in our stomachs taking over these moments. We all want to do well. So why leave things to chance?

Here are some of the things that I do. They help me speak to an audience with ease.

 

1. Knowing your audience.

You’re speaking in front of an audience? Why? There is usually a reason. Know who you are speaking to and what they want or need to take away. When it comes to friends and family, I entertain them. When it comes to networking events I am specific in what I need from them. When I am teaching I aim to inspire them. Knowing the demographics of the audience is imperative.

2. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse… REHEARSE!

Nothing becomes muscle memory unless you practice relentlessly, I have been lucky in the fact that on a Wednesday morning, EVERY WEEK I get to practice! But when it comes to a big speech, I can assure you that I would make time every day to practice. Think of what you want the outcome to be, and rehearse the content well ahead of time, to get that outcome! This can be done while driving, exercising, in the car, on a plane…maybe even record yourself and listen back to it… you can rehearse anywhere.

How about rehearsing with a little bit of distraction to test how well prepared you are? Turn on the TV or rehearse while pushing your child in the swing. Anything that adds a little more challenge, will prepare you for when someone asked a question you didn’t think you were ready for.

Different events will often require that you approach the audience with a different style. Sometimes reading a prepared speech is fine, however, sometimes it is not!

Knowing the script back to front will help you to not stare down at the pages the whole time, however, make sure you can mix it up. Rehearsing is about knowing what you have to do, but being able to wing it if something goes wrong. Sometimes I use notes.

I understand that people prefer to be 100% scripted and memorised, it’s not my style but it might be yours and that’s great., great! But make sure you can memorise the content so well that you can go off-script if needed, otherwise you will sound so robotic you will lose your audience.

3. Know the environment & equipment.

Knowing the venue where you will be speaking, is massively helpful. Get there well ahead of time, walking the room, maybe even the stage if you will be on one. I do this to get the vibe of the room and its environment. I speak at the same place every week, but the room seems to change. I believe this has something to do with the temperature and maybe lighting but without going into super detail, it’s all about making sure you’re comfortable when its “go time.”

On top of that, nothing sucks more them last-minute technical difficulties. Will the video play? Is the mic working? When you’re new at speaking, this stuff can kill you from the inside out. Avoid adding even more stress by testing any and everything ahead of time, and always have a backup for if it goes wrong. You don’t have a tv for your powerpoint slide… What’s your plan B?

Maybe if I had been at this for longer than three years, I would have more advice for you. But these three tips are all I have ever needed. I hope this helps you with your speaking adventures!

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