VIDEO: I Messed Up a Public Speaking Moment, But You Don’t Have To (Thanks, Julie Gordon White!)
Not long ago, I needed to give a toast for a friend’s birthday. In preparation, I jotted down a few notes and then tucked the piece of paper into my purse. When toast-time arrived, I realized my purse was on the opposite side of the room. I panicked. As I stood up, my throat constricted, and my palms got cold and clammy. I managed to choke out a few jumbled words, but I could barely hear myself speak over the mighty thump, thump, thump of my racing heart.
Afterward, I was so mad at myself! On this special occasion for a dear friend, I’d been unprepared, nervous, inarticulate and probably inaudible to boot (okay, that might have been a good thing). I swore I’d never again mess up a public speaking moment. To help me avoid future humiliation, I turned to an oratory pro, business coach Julie Gordon White.
Julie, a TEDx Talk presenter who has spoken countless times to audiences as small as one and as terrifying as 800, gave me five key strategies for not bungling things the next time I need to speak in public, either for personal or professional reasons. You can read her guidelines below, and then watch her awesome video presentation on this important topic.
Craft a talk you love. Here’s Julie’s roadmap for a presentation that’s engaging and memorable (in a good way). Combine three key points (four, max) with compelling stories (not just forgettable facts) and a great opening and closing (which you’ve basically memorized). Mic drop!
Practice -- but don’t memorize. With the exception of your killer intro and wrap up (the two parts of any talk the audience remembers best), rote recitation is recipe for disaster. Not only will you sound like a robot, you’ll be so focused on remembering your exact words you’ll miss the opportunity to genuinely connect with your audience.
Know your venue. If you can’t visit the location ahead of time in person, request a photo or video of the space. Is it big, small, cavernous or narrow? Is there a podium? Can you move around as you talk? For her part, Julie says that since she’s “vertically challenged,” she never stands at a podium for fear of looking like a talking head (literally).
Wear what makes you feel good. One thing you should never have to worry about during a presentation is your wardrobe, let alone a wardrobe malfunction. Julie once sat through a speech during which the presenter constantly pulled up her strapless dress. Julie felt distracted and uncomfortable – so just imagine how the speaker felt!
Be genuinely present for your audience. When you’re presenting, the spotlight may be on you, but the real priority is your audience. They’re spending time (and, perhaps, money) to hear what you have to say, so make sure you’re meeting people’s expectations and needs. “Stop thinking about your own fear and nervousness and focus on giving the message your audience is there to receive.” Now that, says Julie, is the real secret to great public speaking.
Click the video link below to find out how Julie almost blew it when she gave her first TEDx Talk and which incredibly simple device helps her stay on track in the middle of any presentation.
There’s so much more to learn from Julie Gordon White! Want to grow and scale your business? Read this article, and then hop on over to the Momentum to $1 Million group (M2$1M) and kick your learning into high gear.
QB Community members, how do you prepare for speaking in public? What’s your number one tip to share?
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