We all know that feeling – you have a presentation to deliver and as the hours draw closer, beads of sweat start forming, your throat starts to dry up and all of a sudden, all the time you spent rehearsing your presentation seems like a waste because your fear takes over. This is super-normal but trust us, there are ways to get past these horrible feelings.
Public speaking is an unavoidable part of adulting, so we’re here to help you, sis. We spoke to media trainer and former CNBC Africa journalist Ashlea Evans, and here’s what she had to say about getting over your fear of public speaking like a BOSS.
Structure Your Speech
What is the first thing we generally do when we have an upcoming presentation? We open up PowerPoint and wonder where to begin! ‘In fact, that’s the last thing you should do, if you do it at all. First, you need to create the bones of your presentation. What are the three key messages you want your audience to know? That is what forms the basis of your presentation,’ says Ashlea.
She suggests you follow this simple structure:
- Find your story: stories evoke emotion and people will react emotively before they react rationally, so use a story to sell your idea.
- Ask yourself: what do I want to get out of this?
- Ask yourself: what do I want my audience to say or do?
‘People are busy, and their time is limited, so keep it brief and make it interesting. You need to hook your audience in and a great way to do this is through storytelling,’ she adds.
Preparation is Key
We have heard this tip before, however, when it comes to public speaking it’s essential to making you more comfortable with your material. ‘Preparation is key, so have a friend do a run-through with you before. Filming it is a great technique, as you can replay and watch yourself afterwards. This is a technique we use in all of our trainings, and clients are always intrigued to see the mannerisms they didn’t know they had.’
Watch Your Body Language
So much is read through body language. The most important tip to remember is to ‘ensure that you sit up straight, manage any nervous mannerisms you may have, and keep eye contact,’ Ashlea says. ‘I always tell clients, “Hold your chin high, smile and use open hand movements while talking.” This will draw your audience in and you will come across as positive, confident and open.’
Take a lesson from your faves
All too often, we let our inhibitions get the better of us. Ashlea has a trick for that. ‘Find someone you admire and watch their mannerisms – the way they speak, the way they hold their body with confidence. Next time you walk into a room, act … be the most confident version of yourself or pretend to be the person you wish you were. By losing our inhibitions, we are ironically the truest versions of ourselves, the “us” without the fears, the “us” without the hangups that hold us back,’ she says.
So you’re loving all these tips and want to learn more about how to boss up your public-speaking skills? You’re in luck because Ashlea will be hosting a workshop series, one evening per week, for four consecutive weeks.
The workshops are limited to 25 seats as there is an element of practical work and one-on-one coaching.
Get your tickets here and get empowered, babe.
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