Public Speaking: Four R’s to Remember
Up until a few years ago, I was deathly deathly afraid of public speaking. If I knew I had to talk in front of a group of any size, I wouldn’t be able to sleep for days.
Then things began to change. While I’m still not a great speaker, talking to groups of people doesn’t scare me in the same way that it previously did. The only downside to getting better is that I don’t have quite the same feeling of euphoria that I had in the old days when I finish a speech without fainting. In some small ways, I miss that feeling.
Four things that helped me become more comfortable public speaking.
1) Repetition, Repetition, Repetition. Like almost all things in life, doing it over and over and over and over again helps you to improve your abilities. And your confidence.
2) Write It Down Beforehand. At some point in the future, I may be comfortable enough to speak without something written to refer to. But I’m definitely not there yet. The more detailed notes I have about what I’m going to say, the more likely I will say it in a relatively easy-to-understand fashion.
3) Re-check Everything One More Time. Always insist on a practice run at the venue so that you can make sure your PowerPoint works with the AV on site. Assuming that everything will work perfectly (because it worked perfectly on your laptop when you last tested it the night before) is a mistake I’ve made far too many times. And last-minute surprises will turn your public speaking confidence upside down.
4) Record What Happened Afterwards. After you speech, make a written record of what worked and what didn’t work — and how to improve your presentation the next time you do it.
See how I am doing on my progress as a public speaker on Wednesday, May 10 when I talk about the relationship between SXSW and Austin at Design Week Fort Wayne.
Hugh Forrest tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often (but not always) cover technology-related trends. When not attempting to wordsmith or meditating, he serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW in Austin.