“People may forget what you say – but they’ll never forget how you make them feel”

Spiders? Fine. Heights? No problem. Speaking in front of an audience? No thank you. Palms sweating, heart racing, shaky hands… Does this sound familiar?

The thought of public speaking alone is enough to make even the most confident of us feel like we are about to have a heart attack. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Last week during our Experts in Residence session, professional public speaking coach and radio personality Cam Sullings taught us how to best tackle anxiety around public speaking and how to make your pitch or speech impactful.

Key take-aways:

Question yourself
Ask yourself a few important questions. Who are you? What’s the problem? Who is the audience? What’s the solution? What’s the call to action?

Get organised
Get to the venue early, get yourself up on stage and look out over the stage. Do a sound and microphone check. Practice holding the microphone. Find 3 spots and ground yourself. Look across the tops of people’s heads if you don’t feel comfortable making eye contact with the audience!

Don’t forget to breathe
Learn how to breathe properly with your diaphragm. Reference YouTube videos. Do this somewhere alone and quiet about 15 minutes before you are about to public speak.

Grab attention with your opening
You need to get the audiences attention in the first 25 seconds. Start with a personal experience or story. Open by asking a question or making a big statement – but choose what you say carefully. Go on to relate back to purpose of the event or presentation. Be creative – if it’s relevant, there’s no limits!

The importance of your voice and body language
Non-verbal communication carries half of the message. Moving forward increases purpose, tilting your head shows empathy and shifting yourself lower increases trust. When speaking, lower your voice to increase anticipation and use silence to receive undivided attention… Let the listener catch up!

Q & A:

    1. What’s the differences between speaking to an audience and speaking to a camera and being recorded?
      Cam: You can do more rehearsal with video recordings as you can record yourself a thousand times. If sitting down, the best posture is to lean forward slightly 5 degrees which will look better on the screen and feel more comfortable. Don’t worry about how you sound, your voice is your voice – just go with it! It’s all about personality, your content and what you bring!
    2. When public speaking, I struggle to stop, reflect and assess myself. As soon as I stop talking, it becomes a big blur. How can I fix this?
      Cam: You’ll never remember everything you say when you’re on stage. Record your presentations. Watching yourself is a great way to self-assess.
    3. If you get told super last minute and aren’t prepared to speak or pitch, what to do?
      Cam: The number one thing you need to be is already prepared. As individuals in business, you should all be armed with 2 or 3 pitches as of right now. Always be prepared and have your pitch ready to go!

Recommended reading:
Fearless Speaking – Gary Genard
Pitch Anything – Oren Klaff

Have you got a presentation you want to master? Cam Sullings is a host, presenter and trainer among many other things.
Find out more at www.camsullings.com.au.

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