Growing up I was extremely shy. In middle school, I begged and pleaded my way out of every presentation (single/group) and in high school; I was a victim of bullying which made matters even worse. My confidence was at an all-time low and I really felt uncomfortable expressing myself in any and every environment.
Today, if you ask my girlfriends, they will tell you I don’t shut up… but for good reason. I love to connect with people and since discovering my ‘gift of gab’ I have made a career out of it. You see, the things you do for fun can pay the bills if you learn to master them. I have mastered the art of communication. For the past 3 years I have been working as a motivational speaker. I travel across North America speaking at conferences, seminars, workshops, charity events, book club meet ups and more. Every now and then you’ve probably also seen me on your television screen too! My mission is to empower women and girls and help them see beyond the limits of their circumstances.
But I bet you’re wondering how I made the transition. Growing up I always admired people who could capture an audience and speak with such confidence. Although I didn’t have the guts back then, I’ve always envisioned myself rocking the stage too. I wanted to master public speaking way more than I was afraid of it because I knew how much power words hold. Words can make or break a person and after feeling broken for years, eventually I reached a point where I wanted to make my dreams happen.
In the past couple week’s we’ve covered so much; from personal branding, to finding your passions to successfully executing a career transition. Today, I’d love to teach you how to master public speaking because so many people often struggle with this. Listen, in this day and age, you need to know how to talk in front of people, whether it’s only one person or a room filled with thousands. Public speaking skills are essential and there’s really no way to avoid it. I’m going to share some of my personal notes with you that have helped me tremendously in my career.
:: DRESS THE PART :: Bottom line, before you even open your mouth you are making a first impression so dress for the career you want, not the one you currently have. Develop a signature look and don’t hesitate to dazzle. People want to be wowed by you.
:: TEACH YOUR AUDIENCE SOMETHING THEY DON’T KNOW :: The most successful people are the ones who know something others do not. Share an unusual story, interesting fact or joke. You will immediately grab the interest of your audience.
:: TELL AN EMOTIONAL STORY :: Consider sharing a part of you that no one knows. People want to know that you’re human. A personal experience often causes others to feel something. My speeches often revolve around personal trauma I’ve experienced and how I rose above it all. This is who I am and how I choose to deliver. But depending on your audience and the environment, you should gage the degree in which you should make yourself transparent. An emotional story is not always necessary, but is always a great way to relate to others. People can’t help but respect someone who is all-the-way-real with them. So it may seem scary to open up, but don’t feel ashamed or discouraged. Your scars are symbols of your strength.
:: BE PREPARED :: The worst feeling in the world is speaking in front of an audience feeling unprepared and nervous. The best way to take away the butterflies is to be ready to take your challenge head on; which means you’ve equipped yourself for success by rehearsing in front of loved ones or the mirror, knowing your material inside out. In few cases, you can wing it, but 99% of the time you need to be prepared. If not, it’s embarrassing for you and your audience will feel awkward watching stutter and repeat the words ‘umm’ ‘like’ and uhhh. Girlfriend, it’s not cute. Take it from me; hard work pays off. My mentor always tells me to watch other great speakers, especially comedians. You can certainly pick up a thing or two if you study them closely.
:: SMILE AND BREATHE :: Punctuate and pause. Take note of your delivery. Use variation in your tone and don’t forget to briefly pause from time to time. Take your audience on the ride with you. By taking a very brief pause in between sentences it gives the audience a sense of comfort because you give off a certain level of confidence. Forgot your next line? That’s fine. No need to panic, just smile, breathe then recollect yourself and continue. Even though inside your head, you are probably thinking, omg! To your audience you appear the complete opposite. Remember, you are the speaker. You are the leader in the room. It is your responsibility to show the way. Don’t rush through your presentation, take your time and allow the audience to absorb everything that you are teaching them. After all, you did so much research and put a lot of time into preparing for this speech, so let the room be filled with everything you have to offer.
:: DO YOUR BEST AND ‘F’ THE REST :: This is my last and most important point. Always remember, you are a work in progress. Heck, I make mistakes too, but it’s all a part of the journey. If you look great, teach them something new, share an emotional story and have prepared yourself for the big day you will be fine. You are human and think of it this way, many people cannot do what you’re about to do. You’re a rock star. Embrace the moment.
p.s. There is so much more I could add to this post, but these should push you into the right direction. If you have a specific question, shoot us an email and I’d be more than happy to assist you.
p.p.s. If you’re curious to see one of my keynotes, feel free to visit my YouTube channel and subscribe for updates.
Peace & Love,