You can do this!

1     Prepare. Prepare.
Know your stuff when you’re speaking. Even famous speakers prepare. It may be the same topic, but every group is different.

2   Use your own words.
People can spot a fake. Your uniqueness is what makes you special. If you don’t normally say, “endeavour to utilize the required resources,” don’t say it now.

3   Be comfortable in your own skin.
Public speaking is not the time to test new hairdos or looks. Wear something appropriate that feels like you.

4   Dress appropriately.
Sport your favourite cheerful colour, so we can see you. If your talk or workshop is being photographed or video-recorded, wear simpler styles and materials.

5   Be kind to yourself.
Watch how you talk to yourself. No one becomes a better public speaker by being viciously criticized, so be nice. Be open to constructive criticism of your talk, but give yourself credit for everything you did right too.

6   Become centred.
Take a moment before speaking to be silly and shake out any nerves (privately please!) Then focus on serving the audience. See yourself presenting confidently.

7   Breathe to pause.
Pause for effect. Pause to recall the next step. It’s okay. Breathe slowly to stay on track.

8 Be positive.
Talk about what you want. Don’t be afraid becomes show courage. Say “let’s give Jane a round of applause to thank her for volunteering” instead of “let’s give Jane a round of applause so she won’t feel scared up here.” She wasn’t scared until you brought it up.

9   Smile.
The audience wants you to do well too.

10   Respect people’s time.
I once sat through a 20-minute keynote that became a 75-minute monologue. Ugh. This goes back to practicing speaking. People often speak faster in practice and slower in front of a group. Allow for that. If you’re nervous, ask someone to give you a signal when you have five minutes left.



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