Part 3 - Present the Speech
Standing in front of a crowd is a terrifying prospect, but I’ve shared my journey with you. In previous weeks I shared tips on developing the best speech you can to engage the audience and leave them with a call to action.
In Part 1 I defined the topic/theme of my speech
In Part 2 I wrote the speech
Now I’m going to share my experience of speaking at my first public event, My Passionate Philosophy. It involved a panel of six local, inspirational women talking about who or what had an impact on them and shaped their life philosophies.
When the day of reckoning arrived, I was as well prepared as I could be. I’d written an engaging speech, practiced it often, and was dressed for business. I still felt sick at the prospect, but this didn’t mean for a second that I would entertain the idea of backing out. Hell no! I’m a strong, independent woman and I can do anything [repeat on loop].
I was worried about everything: the sold out audience wouldn’t like me; my voice would shake from nerves; or worse still… I wouldn’t have an intelligent response to their questions. My goodness, I was going to stand beside a bravery award recipient, who saved a friend from a shark attack, a radio announcer, successful entrepreneurs, and passionate naturalists. I felt like such a fraud! Who would want to hear my story?
When I arrived, The Links Lady Bay Resort at Normanville, was already abuzz and I reminded myself that the audience wanted me to succeed. They were interested in my journey to publication, and all I needed to do was have fun when I delivered it. (How can the audience have fun, if you’re not?)
Here is what I did:
· Hold my small note cards at around waist height, so they wouldn’t obscure my face, and only glanced at them when I needed a quick memory trigger.
· Make eye contact with different people around the room.
· Project my voice, and use different tones for emphasis.
· Smile and joke with the audience, letting my personality show through.
So, I told a crowded room about my philosophy that the people we meet every day shape our identity, and I shared a few anecdotes about people who have influenced me and the type of person I am (a motorbike-riding dare devil with a middle-aged mother alter ego). In conclusion, I reminded them that I’m no more remarkable than the person sitting beside them at that moment. We can all lead an extraordinary life by using the influences that shape our beliefs and acting on them.
And the most amazing thing happened... the audience fed on my excitement and openness and I fed on their response. The energy in the room was invigorating, and I was touched that many people stayed back to chat to me.
What should you take away from my experience? Anyone (yes that means YOU) can speak in front of people. Take small steps and be persistent. I recommend joining your local Toastmaster’s group.
I’d love to hear about your terrifying public speaking experience.