Spacefem (spacefem) wrote,

public speaking tip

A few years ago at a conference I was in a room of 50-60 people and we'd listened to a speaker. They were asking for comments/questions and I had one, so I stepped up to the mic and immediately felt myself getting that shakey sweaty feeling I ALWAYS get when I speak in front of people, but I really wanted to get my thought out. I took a deep breath and apologized to everyone, explaining that I get really nervous when I talk to people, then said my bit and got applause! And people came up to me later and said I was smart.

I drove home with someone, this was a work conference and she was a higher-up at the company. She also said I made a good comment. But then she asked if she could give me some advice. Sure. She said, "Never admit that you're nervous. Certainly don't start like that, and don't apologize for it. People will quickly forget if you seem a little nervous, but if you start off by saying it, they'll immediately put you in the 'amature' category. You'll lose some. Or they'll want to comfort you, tell you it's okay. It's tough for them to think you're smart if their first impression is that they should just feel concerned and sympathetic towards you."

I figured okay, sure, I'll try it. I mean when you step up to the mic you only get so many words, and explaining your feelings about public speaking only takes up precious time.

But since making that goal for myself I notice how true it is, and how many people make this mistake. I even watched actors on the emmys last night tell everyone how nervous they were before accepting awards. They looked unprofessional and out of place, like they weren't ready, didn't quite belong.

So it's the advice I'm going to try to pass on to any interested readers now. When you have the opportunity to make your voice heard, get to saying something.
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