On this influencer path, I've been asked to give a fair number of talks. In 2018, I've spoken at a Google Summit, at a marketing conference in New Orleans, on a PR Week podcast, at a few Sony events, and as a guest lecturer at a college in NYC. I used to be incredibly nervous public speaking, but at this point, I just have to take a few deep breaths and I'm good. Practice really is the best way to overcome this fear. Until then, here are my top tips to get over any nerves.
1. Know your stuff; do not rely on notecards. Many talks are accompanied by a presentation. Your slides should prompt you; you should know the rest inside and out.
2. Practice the talk a few times, all the way through. Video yourself on your phone, and watch it back. You can see how fast you should talk, what works, and where you can make changes.
3. Imagine being on stage and forgetting what you are going to say next. Have a plan in place for what you will do if that happens. Maybe have a little joke at the ready, or put a topic in your mind you will jump to. Even plan to take a moment to pause and take a sip of water. Preparing for this reduces the anxiety of it happening, and saves you from panic if it does actually happen.
4. Wear something you feel like a million bucks in. It shouldn't be brand-new in that you should know how it feels while it is on. You don't want to be uncomfortable or be tugging at clothing when you should be completely focused on your talk.
5. Act confident, even if you don't feel confident. Eventually you won't have to act. Remember that these people are listening to you because they want to. What you have to say is valuable. Don't think of the audience as people you have to win over -- they are friends who appreciate your authenticity and information.
Do you have any stories about public speaking? Or any other tips?