“The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place”
-George Bernard Shaw
By Tyler Robinson
People communicate and interact unconsciously everyday. We move through our lives unintentionally sending out signals through verbal and non-verbal communication without much of an impact. We have turned into a society of personal interactive numbness. Then one day the moment arrives that we are asked to communicate to a group of our piers and have everyone watch and judge us. A moment for everyone to hang on our every word as it is spoken through a microphone to be evaluated and dare I say it a need to be impactful! That is the moment when communication becomes an obsession, a fear, and elevates our bodies to a point of anxiety that is physically identical to fighting for our lives.
The number one phobia in America is fear of public speaking, and it affects 3 out of 4 people. So how do we get through it? How do we engage a group effectively, entertainingly, and live to tell the tale? It is not simple, but it is something that everyone can accomplish with just a little practice and some easy to follow steps.
S- Stay Calm
When it comes to speaking in public, even for people that do it often there is a sense of anxiety that comes with it. You heart starts beating faster, the adrenial glands start to work, and all of the sudden your body is literally convinced that it is in a fight or flight situation. Your heart is beating faster because your brain is telling it, “hey we need blood to the major organs so we can get moving!” It is at this point that you need to calm yourself…. Start with deep breathes, then take the time to pacify yourself. Some people do this by rubbing their hands together or rubbing the back of there necks or reciting some saying over and over. Find what works for you and stay calm. No one is going to throw things at you or try and hurt you; there is a 99.8% chance that you will survive this speech.
S-Start with a story
I always always always start with a story. I always make sure it is true, and I always make sure it is my story. It does not have to be an incredible story about how you saved the president, or how you hit the game winning homerun. In fact make sure it is not a story where you are the hero, NO ONES WANTS TO HEAR IT YOU NARCASIST ☺ The point of the story is to be relatable and connect with your audience everyone has had an embarrassing moment, not everyone has been the hero. I use to start my presentations to High School students with a story about my grandmother (cause almost everybody loves and has a grandmother)
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Make sure you know what you are talking about. Never ever ever ever evah get up to speak to a group without preparing, or speak to a group on a subject you have no previous experience with. There is nothing more uncomfortable or nerve racking than giving a talk without preparing, try it once and you will never do it again.
E- Engage with Energy
No one wants you to get up in front of a group and read in a monotone voice a prewritten speech as you look down the entire time reading your speech. You need to engage your audience with interaction, ask them some questions, give them some eye contact, show some vocal tonality! You don't have to be Richard Simmons or Robin Williams or Tony Robbins for that matter bouncing off the walls and getting people fired up, but bring YOUR energy to the talk and engage your audience with you.
E- Education through Elocution
When you speak always try to give your group some takeaways or real world applications for what you are talking about. If you are speaking on saving the world tell me what I can do to help, if you are speaking on how to be a parent with out strangling my kid give me 3 things I should do, if you are writing about how to give a speech hit me with an acronym that spells out SPEECH so it is easy to remember.
C- Can you please stop TALKING
It is human nature ESPECIALLY in the age of instant gratification, that you keep it short. There is nothing worse than having someone ramble on and on, I mean lets be honest chances are not many people read this blog post all the way through. People will really only give something they are truly interested and vested in 15min of true concentration, and in my opinion it is actually 10 min. One of the most memorable speeches in our countries history was the Gettysburg address, which was only 3 minutes long and only 265 words!
H- Have Fun and enjoy
People that take themselves to seriously and don’t have fun with speaking in public are really missing out. If you are talking about a subject that maybe is not fun, make it fun. If you are talking about a serious subject, negative event, or epidemic don't make it fun, but enjoy the idea that you are making a difference. You are so strong for even getting in front of a group, embrace that strength and have fun with it! If your main goal is to have fun with your speech then it will take a lot of the fear out of getting up and then all that is left is for you to ROCK THE STAGE!!
The Keynote Group