September 25, 2012 — 7 Tips for Nervous Public Speakers

I am about to embark on one of my least favorite occu­pa­tions — Pub­lic Speak­ing.  Although I jumped at the chance to get more expo­sure for my film by pre­sent­ing FINDING KUKAN at sev­er­al upcom­ing events, I am not a nat­ur­al speak­er.  In fact mak­ing any kind of announce­ment to a room full of strangers nor­mal­ly makes me break out in hot flash­es that are NOT menopausal-relat­ed.

So I’ve been col­lect­ing pub­lic speak­ing tips from friends and col­leagues.  I thought I’d share some of the best ones here.

Vintage underwear ad.

Could this tip apply out in the gar­den too?

1)  Pic­ture the audi­ence wear­ing just their under­wear (I know this is sup­posed to make you feel less intim­i­dat­ed, but I’m afraid I might just break out laugh­ing and nev­er recov­er).

Vintage underwear ad

Busi­ness­men man­age to look seri­ous even in their long johns

 

An ad from Miss Fancypants

Miss Fan­cy­pants the retro under­wear mak­er shows that women know how to have more fun, even in their under­wear.

 

2)  Prac­tice your speech in front of a mir­ror (could be dan­ger­ous depend­ing on your self-image)

Over­com­ing a neg­a­tive self-image is a part of the bat­tle.

cat looking in mirror

I need to take lessons from my cats.

 

 

 

 

3)  Act like a Diva, you’ll sound bet­ter.  (A hint from my won­der­ful singing instruc­tor Blos­som Lam Hoff­man)

Diva cartoon from Dorie Ratzlaff

The tal­ent­ed car­toon­ist Dorie Rat­zlaff illus­trates my Diva prob­lem.

 

4)  Warm up your voice with a Car­ol Bur­nett Tarzan call.  (Anoth­er hint from my singing instruc­tor)


5)  Use lots of visu­als so the audi­ence does­n’t focus too much on you. (But be care­ful of visu­al over­load and the LSD effect).

color block swirl

Visu­al over­load in the brain might look like this.

 

 

6)  Ask for divine inter­ven­tion and just wing it.

light ray in clouds

What I imag­ine Divine Inter­ven­tion might look like. (pho­to by Hei Astrid)

 

7)  Go online and get some prac­ti­cal tips from the pros.

In the next month or two I will prob­a­bly try out most of these.  I’ll report back which ones worked best for me.  What do you do when put in front of a crowd?

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