Just like the actor, the great speakers prepare before they go on. And there are so many different ways of doing it. It all depends on what issues you need to address before you walk onto the stage.
Here are a couple of obstacles and some proven solutions.
FEAR – I was driving to a speaking engagement last year and it came up. Yes, – fear. After all the coaching and speaking, I do, I had butterflies. It happens to everyone who cares about their work and actually fuels it. Without a certain amount of excitement your presentation will be flat. It is also true that too many butterflies can shut you down.
So I did what I tell my clients to do. I flipped the word “fear” to “excitement”. After all the feeling is the same, it’s just the way we describe it to ourselves. I started to tell myself the truths I knew about the upcoming event – “It’s going to be exciting meeting new people.” “It’s exciting to offer important techniques that open a whole new world of speaking and connecting.” Talk to yourself about what you love about speaking and let it carry you into your presentation.
HEIGHTENED ENERGY – Speaking is like performing in that it requires heightened energy. You cannot move from your ordinary world onto the platform and expect the same energy to carry your message to the audience.
There are many ways of preparing ahead of time to meet this need. Two of my favorites are–
1) Open your arms wide and stick your chest out and become the ball of sun that shoots out the energy needed to cover the entire audience. Then take a deep, rich breath filling your body like a balloon with air and letting it out slowly. Do it in the bathroom stall if need be. But do it. And feel the largeness of your energy and imagine covering the whole of the audience with your body extending to every corner of the room. Embrace your audience. Give them your gift – your message.
2) Sing a song (in your head or if you can – out loud). I actually do it out loud in the parking lot before going into the building where my presentation is being held. In New York, before going to an audition, I’d leave the office I was working in and sing in an empty express elevator or even on the street on my way to the subway – no one cared in New York. My favorite was from BRIGADOON – It’s Almost Like Being in Love. One of my current clients (a television host) like to sing Whatever Lola Wants and I understand Al Roker prefers the theme from Rocky before he goes on camera.
What song would get you feeling terrific? Why not try it before your next presentation?