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Assume The 6 Worst Things Will Happen When You Speak

One way to overcome the fear of public speaking is to assume the worst will  happen when you speak…and prepare for it. Here are some of the common fears of speakers and ways to be ready for them.

1. I’ll forget what to say. Practice. Practice. Practice. Use notes as reminders. I prefer using props as reminders. Using the dreaded PowerPoint is a great way to remember what to say next. The slides are great reminders.

2. The technology will fail. Have handouts ready to use. Prepare a version of your talk that doesn’t need any technology.

3. The air conditioning won’t work. That happened to me once. What did I do? I ignored it and went on with my talk.

4. Only three people will show up. It doesn’t matter how many people are in the audience. You owe everyone your best.

5. A snow storm will create havoc with the conference. One speaker I know arrived at a conference a day in advance. A huge snow storm was due the next day. She looked at the list of workshops that were planned and emailed the conference chair with the titles of worships that she could do if the presenter didn’t show up. She ended up doing an additional workshop and was remembered for next year.

6. I won’t have enough handouts. Put your handouts online. Many, if not all, of the members of the audience can pull out their smartphones or tablets and follow along just fine.

The Boy Scouts say, “Be Prepared!” Public speaking requires you to follow their advice.

Handouts help the audience remember what you said…

As you are speaking, members of the audience are forgetting what you are saying. The trick is to say it in a way that they will remember it. Telling a story probably works best. Trying to convince folks with a bunch of statistics is the worst. The best way to help them remember is to provide effective handouts.

Ever try a 5 card speech?

Have you ever tried making a 5 card speech? No, you don’t need a deck of cards. You do need a bunch of your business cards. Here’s the idea…

If you are asked to speak, without a fee, ask if you can offer the members of the audience some of your business cards. Tell the audience, near the end of your speech, that if they enjoyed your presentation that they are invited to take 5 of your cards and give them to folks who might also like to hear you speak. Since they didn’t pay anything to hear you speak it’s a win win. They get your insights and you have a chance to get more speaking engagements.

Try it!

Beware of the worst word during public speaking!

Some people are offended by four letter words. EVERYONE is offended, whether or not they tell you, by a one letter word. Nobody wants to hear you say I. They don’t come to hear about you. They come to hear about how you will make them better. The more you say I, the less they want to hear you. Toastmasters have an “Ah-counter” to help them avoid using sounds as a crutch. The best word to use when speaking is You. That’s what they want to hear about.