For many the thought of giving a speech at a wedding or standing in front of a your colleagues at work to deliver a presentation induces steroid enhanced butterflies to form in your stomach. Sadly, for too many, the result is they avoid situations where they may be asked or expected to speak in public. I have friends, who before they received training on public speaking, avoided promotions at work because they didn’t want to take on a job that **might** entail delivering a presentation. Aside from the self esteem that accompanies the ability to speak in public, what did this cost them in lost income?
At some point there will come a time where you will not be able to avoid having to give a speech. It could be at a wedding, or your boss taps you on the shoulder and tells you that he needs you to visit a client and make a presentation to them. You can’t hide forever – at some point you will have to step into the spot light for your turn to speak, so how can you control your nerves? There’s a couple of things I want you to remember which will help bring your butterflies under control…
1. Your audience wants you to succeed
As novice speakers it can be easy to convince yourself that your audience is going to get perverse enjoyment watching you struggle on stage. Nothing could be further from the truth! Think back to when you last saw someone deliver a speech… Did you want to see them fail? Chances are you didn’t want to see them bomb. It’s painful for the speaker and the audience when a someone is struggling to get through their speech. Your audiences want to see you succeed when you deliver your speech. It’s a much more enjoyable experience for everybody when the speaker is able to deliver their presentation coherently rather than struggling through their speech.
Remember, your audience knows the best result for them is for you to succeed in delivering your speech. Use their positive energy and thoughts to help calm your nerves. Your audience really does want you to succeed!
2. Your audience doesn’t expect a superb speech
There are a few people blessed with the natural ability to captivate and inspire audiences effortlessly. They are few and far between, and audiences know this. Those speakers command big ticket entry prices just to see them speak. Unless you are charging vast sums of money for people to see you speak you don’t need to convince yourself you need to speak at the same level. Your audience wants to see that you’ve taken the time to prepare a speech for them, but they don’t expect that it will be a life altering occasion for them.
You’re audience doesn’t expect you to deliver a speech of oratorical brilliance that would make Winston Churchill or JFK proud. They simply expect that you’ve put some effort in and you do your best. Keep your expectations of yourself real!
3. Your speech is just a conversation with many people
The final point I will cover is for you to remember what a speech or presentation really is. It’s simply a conversation. I doubt you get nervous when you talk to one or two people. A speech involves the same principles as a conversation between friends – all that changes is the number of people. The speakers who are most enjoyable to watch and listen to are those that make you feel like you are in a conversation. Why not take this and use it to your advantage… If you don’t get butterflies when talking to one or two people remind yourself as you are about to step into the spotlight that a speech is no different – you are simply there to have a conversation.
If you can remind yourself of this it will help settle any nerves that you are experiencing.
Our aim is not to remove nerves completely – a few small butterflies will give you an edge when speaking. The points we’ve discussed here will help you take the steroid infused butterflies that are controlling your emotions and bring them under control. While others are avoiding the opportunity to speak in public you can take it – who knows what other opportunities that might lead to??