THE IMPORTANCE OF "THE MOMENT BEFORE" GIVING A SPEECH
Many people sink themselves before they even get up to speak. Let's learn how to avoid dreading the moment before a big speech.
We've all been there. You're sitting waiting for your turn to speak, your leg begins to nervously shake, you scan the exits and begin to wonder what would happen if you just left. You might get fired, or ruin your best friend's wedding, but at least you wouldn't have to do any public speaking today! As you're planning the perfect escape you hear your name get called! Uh oh, you're stuck. Now you have to go speak. Your stomach locks up, your shoulders get tense and you shuffle out of your chair forgetting to breathe the whole way up to the front of the room. As you look out at the faces looking up at you, you have almost no feeling left in your body as you croak out the first few words of your speech. Not off to a good start is it? So many people who struggle with public speaking struggle with the moment before the speech as much or more than the presenting of the speech itself and when you have a rough start, you're climbing uphill before you're even through your introduction. Now, let's take a look at 5 things to remember in the lead up to an interview or speaking publicly so you can master "The Moment Before" and start yourself off on the right foot so you can own the room.
1. Develop a routine.
The best way to ensure proper stress management in the moments before public speaking is to develop a pre speech routine. Something you can do to keep yourself calm in the minutes and seconds leading up to your speech. For me it is a low, steady breath, a little shake of the shoulders to keep everything loose and an "I can take on the world" smile. This helps you develop a rhythm and keeps your mind off of the fact you're about to have 500 people looking up at you. It's a little, personal way to get in the zone and get yourself mentally ready to nail it. We'll discuss ways to figure out your routine and things to remember in the points below.
2. Stay loose physically.
Remember how I said I always do a little shoulder shake before I speak? This is because the way your body feels translates so clearly into your voice and is so painfully visible to the audience. If you are tense, and tight, your speech will be tense and tight. Something as simple as a check in on your body right before you go up can work wonders for keeping you calm. Are your shoulders tense? Knees locked uncomfortably straight? Posture too stiff? Take 3 seconds to make sure you are nice and loose and your speech will be nice and loose (and the whole audience will appreciate it). If you are feeling a bit locked up, the best way to get away from that is definitely point #3.
3. Remember to breathe.
Ah breathing! It's amazing how many people forget how to do this when they get nervous. If you find the nerves of public speaking are getting the better of you then take a second and just breathe! Give your brain the oxygen it craves, feel the tension fall out of your stomach, feel your shoulders drop and BE CALM. Public speaking can be, and should be fun (if you are relaxed enough) and breathing deeply in the lead up to giving your speech is a great start to your pre-speech routine.
4. Remember what you're there for.
Whether it be a best-man speech or trying to close a big new client, remembering your objective with the speech or presentation can also be a great way to get psyched up. This could also have a negative effect if the gravity of the situation you are about to enter ends up just making you more nervous, but that's where the routine comes in! Go through your pre-speech routine, loosen up, remember what you're there for and tell yourself that you are going to kill it. Now you've got your body ready to take on any challenge, a positive mindset, and you're ready for point #5.
5. Have fun!
Public speaking should be fun! You're about to have a room full of people looking at you, you're basically a celebrity! Don't stress about the what ifs, life is too short to give bad speeches. Go up there ready to confidently get your message across and I promise you will have fun doing it!
Keep checking in for more advice, tips, tricks, interviews with professionals and lots more in our new weekly blog!
To book a session you can go to publicspeakingvancouver.com/booking or contact me directly at Rylan@publicspeakingvancouver.com.
Thanks for reading and I hope to work with you soon!
Public Speaking Vancouver