A lot of what we do here at MoJJo is help people prepare for public speaking, and public facing roles. No matter your role or practice area, everyone can benefit from improved communications skills. I’m not saying that just because we are in communications. Let’s face it, being able to tell your own story in a way that is engaging and genuine is key to communicating with stakeholders across the board.
One of the big stumbling blocks our clients talk to us about is a real fear of public speaking. It’s more common than you may think. One on one, someone may feel strong and confident about making their point, but when a mike is thrust under their nose, and they’re at a podium staring down an audience, it triggers anxiety and in some cases, even panic.
Here are a few tips we use when we conduct trainings to help people feel more comfortable in the spotlight.
Knowledge is power – and confidence!
- If possible, prepare well in advance by practicing your presentation out loud. Note any words that might trip you up and practice them separately. Highlight key words on your script so that if you lose your place you’ll be able to find it.
- Before taking the stage, or going on your video conference, be sure you to familiarize yourself with the venue and/or the technology.
- Get on the podium and check the sound system.
- Make sure your voice is carried over the mike and you’re comfortable with the placement of the mic
- Is there enough light to see your notes?
- Do you understand how the slides will work? The fewer surprises to worry about, the more confident you’ll feel.
Dialing back the panic
- Anxiety can manifest itself as sweaty palms, shaky voice, dry mouth, dizziness, shaking knees, brain going blank… So, how do we cope with these kinds of feelings? It sounds overly simple, but it is so key – just breathe!
- Taking measured/timed breaths can be really helpful to get you to relax. There are many breathing exercises on the internet. We like one called “Square Breathing” to help with focus and relaxation.
- Often when we get nervous – our breathing becomes shallow – which can make you light-headed. Take a big, deep breath before speaking. If you find yourself speaking too fast, pause a moment, maybe take a sip of water, take a moment to breathe. Your audience isn’t going anywhere in a short pause.
- If you’re standing – make sure to plant your feet so that you’re solid and balanced. If you’re sitting, plant both feet on the ground and sit up straight. Prior to presenting, sit quietly for a few minutes if possible to calm your breathing.
We have a number of other tips at hand, and if you’re interested in a presentation training, MoJJo conducts them in-person and virtually, for individuals or a group. Call us to explore how we might help your team put their best foot forward.
We are proud to support this organization’s mission and delighted to partner with such a genuine, committed team.