Standing there, presentation behind me and a group of strangers in front of me. You feel the eyes staring, knowing what you’re about to say can either go well or not, and the outcome will be decided by the length of your talk.
I love public speaking. I never thought I’d say that, as I was a nervous wreck giving talks as part of school assignments, yet when talking about my journey and volunteering in specific, words flow, my mind clears, and the story begins.
I was ill a few days before my recent guest speech, so the thought of going into my lecture with little practice, I was nervous. I was nervous to have students laughing, fear rushing through my veins and the want to leave the room.
I stood there, I spoke, I told my journey and an invite back next year was discussed straight after.
When I think back to why practising my speech wasn’t needed, it’s down to my passion for what I’m saying. Volunteering is my passion and being in meetings most weeks, my story is told to someone new on a regular basis.
Writing John’s Road to Volunteering, I write as I would speak to someone in person. Meeting someone for the first time, my personality comes across with endless bald jokes being shared and yes, I’m confident in my field, but I’m still nervous.
Nerves are a natural part of public speaking and I see it as a way of showing you want to deliver. You want to deliver a speech that entices people in from start to finish, and people come back to your work wanting more.
There’s no right way to deliver a speech, as like most things in life, you have to do what works for you. You might notice in the picture above; no words appear in my talk.
No words appear, as students don’t want a typical lecture style speech. Words are great, and words can work for certain people, but I’m a story-teller. A story-teller in a sense, when speaking in public, visuals tell the story. My voice tells the story. If someone wants to read my story, they can download it on John’s Road to Volunteering.
The content I upload onto John’s Road to Volunteering is the content I’d share in my talk. The only difference is you hear my voice. My voice amplifies my passion in person, and it hasn’t always been like this.
You have to remember that I once felt alone and isolated in the world, and over time, I learned you have to believe in what you write. You have to believe in what you say.
Isn’t that what we do as bloggers? Isn’t that what we do when we sit down to write our content and click publish when it’s the right time?
Public Speaking is the exact same. People have been reaching out to me recently, asking for tips, so below are my top 5 tips when public speaking…
1. Keep it simple
Keeping it simple won’t complicate the talk for both you and your listeners.
2. Know your audience
Sounds obvious, right? But you’d be surprised how many talks I’ve seen that haven’t fitted the audience. When I knew, I was talking to students, I sat down and figured out what do students want? What do students like?
3. Talk from the heart
With no time to practice my talk, I decided it was best to have a run through of the talk, having a few bullet points on what to say, and then speak. There wasn’t a need to over-complicate things.
There’s a huge different between speaking from the heart and from your mind, and when I spoke from the heart recently, words were flowing, my heart was beating at a crazy speed, but I let myself be vulnerable.
4. Let your emotions run the show
Quite early on in my talk, I mentioned to the group of students, I was unsure how my emotions would hold up, sharing my MH battles. When I let myself be vulnerable and I spoke from the heart, the audience reacted. The audience reacted as vulnerability shows your passion. Passion = engaged audience.
5. Think about the outcome
When you create a project, how do you decide on the outcome? The goal? The length of time and the smaller objectives to hit the big objective?
Thinking about the outcome helps to identify the style in the way you’ll present, the content in your speech and what you want to achieve.
Why do you think the third party invited you to talk?
You’re an amazing human being and when you get invited to talk, you’re being recognised for your work. Use it! Use the inspiration behind your invite as your motivation to deliver, and know that everything we do is a learning opportunity.
Learn about yourself, learn your preferences and go and ace that talk! You’ll be wandering why you were worried in the first place.