HOW TO SURVIVE public speaking
Unlearn the ‘rules’ of public speaking. Authenticity is more important than anything else
and rules can make you act unnaturally. You want to seem like an expert in whatever
you’re talking about, not a pro at public speaking.
1 Treat a presentation like you would a date.
It’s about connecting with people, being
yourself and not being a bore. The more
likeable and approachable you are, the more
effective you will be at conveying information.
2 Watch TED Talks. These online think-tank
presentations show how passion for a subject
overrides performance. Some of the smartest,
most dynamic people in the world are not
necessarily great public speakers.
3 Video yourself. But do not critique every detail – use film to spot the most obvious issues, like the
overuse of filler words such as ‘um’ or ‘like’, or to catch distracting hand gestures. Or try it out on a
small audience of friends. Get them to ask you difficult questions afterwards.
4 Dress the part. For formality and authority,
don a suit; if you want your presentation
to have a more free-form feel, dress more
casually. Most importantly, wear something
that helps your audience relate to you.
5 Embrace nervousness. You can still give
a great presentation if you’re nervous, and
acknowledging it, to your audience or just to
yourself, often minimises it. View it as being
excitement directed inwards, to be channelled
outwards into animation and passion.
6 Nail the first 10 minutes. Nervousness usually subsides after the first few minutes, so spend most
of your prep time practising the beginning of your talk. Or kick it off in a way that helps you relax,
such as by asking questions, doing a physical demonstration or telling a story.