Q: Help! I would love some hip tranquil feedback on public speaking. I am a Pilates/yoga instructor, and I'm used to speaking in front of small group. My employer has asked me to speak at a symposium. Any advice, books, insight?
A: You know that the number one fear of most people is public speaking, right? Well, no worries, with some practice, deep breathing, and confidence, you'll be ready in no time. I recall the terrifying feelings from speech class in junior high. Those butterflies, the trembling, and the shaky voice. I also recall my teacher encouraging us all to get up there and act as if we're 100% confident and that statement has had a powerful effect on me speaking on and off the mat. Here are my top tips for speaking publicly while still staying tranquil:
1. Be prepared. I always have bullet points to reference.
2. Use humor. It shows you're human and keeps people engaged.
3. Create a story. Such as "7 steps to tranquility" or "how building a business is like a yoga class."
4. Slow down. Talking fast is so common - especially when nervous or excited. Slow it down so that your audience can absorb your witty words of wisdom.
5. Practice. Run through what you're sharing with a trusted friend or in front of a mirror.
6. Request feedback. Get input from trusted sources after your presentation so that you can learn to improve.
7. Bring it full circle. Avoid rambling. Have a thesis statement and bring your presentation points back to your main premise. This helps the audience see how the pieces fit together.
8. Have fun. Speaking is a gift and sharing your expertise with others is an honor. Treat it as such and watch your passion for public speaking grow.
I hope this helps. Visualize yourself wowing the audience, take lots of deep breaths, and enjoy this challenge that has come your way. Let us know how it goes!
Tips from Toastmasters