Public Speaking for Introverts Part 3 - SHOWTIME!

Posted on Tuesday, August 11, 2015

By now you’ve crafted and practiced your message in a down-to-earth, user-friendly, conversational style and It’s Show Time!  But be prepared -- despite all that practice and your hard-won confidence, you could still experience a physical anxiety response, just as you prepare to step out and face an audience. What happened to that relaxed, ready, well-prepared feeling?

That feeling may desert you, but you can prepare for this, and you can recover.  Remember this -- the anxiety you're feeling is just your inner child, and it's not trying to sabotage you, it's trying to protect you. I think this is an important distinction –  our inner child just wants to feel safe and protected.  And we can respond with – I get it, inner child, but it’s all going to be okay. 

Here are some tips to help you feel ready for those last few minutes before the big event.

The days before:

1.)    Think and behave like an athlete.  Get two to three good nights of sleep, hydrate really well, eat food that gives you energy and get some exercise.  Limit sugar, alcohol and caffeine and any food that weighs you down.

Days before and the day of:

2.)    Limit any toxic influences, and surround yourself with positive ones.  This might mean turning off the news and turning on music that makes you feel light, goofy, and positive.

The Day Of:

3.)    Engage your Body.  How do you respond to stress – do you speed up or shut down?  Use deep, meditative breathing if you speed up and active, energized breathing if you shut down.  Spend at least 5 minutes following your breath in through the nose to the bottom of your belly and out through the mouth or nose - whichever you are more comfortable.  Feel the weight of your body, feet and hips, and answer,   “I am ready for this.”  Or repeat any positive mantra that works for you -- I am Enough… Loved… Confident...  Awesome.  Repeat, believe, and carry it with you.

4.)     Own Your Space.  Take time beforehand to walk around your space and make it yours.  

5.)    Use your whole body when speaking.  Let your confident, upright posture positively influence your emotions – standing or seated.

6.)    Make friends as people enter.  Shake their hand and introduce yourself with a warm, welcoming smile.  You’re going to need them later when you speak.

7.)    Energy is Infectious – both positive and negative.  Energize your voice, and keep that energy going all the way through each sentence -- don't let yourself fade off at the ends of sentences.  Energizing the voice also helps to energize the rest of the body.  You will be more engaging overall and more likely to keep your listeners tuned-in.

8.)    Make eye contact and have conversations with the friends you made earlier.   Speaking to the whole crowd can be intimidating. The rapport you established earlier will help you now.  Make eye contact, and speak to one person at a time.  But don’t linger too long!  If they start nodding continuously you know it’s time to move on!

9.)    Let mistakes go.  Unless it’s something major, don’t apologize.  People will more likely remember your response than the mistake.  Your listeners are human, just like you, and they know that humans aren't infallible.
10.) Set realistic goals beforehand and Reward Yourself after.  Based on your experience as a speaker, decide what achievable goals you want to set.  When it’s all over,   list the things that went right and reward yourself in a big way.  You can review the things you’d like to change later, but right now keep it positive.  After all, you’ve just done something very courageous!



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