There is something about delivering a message to a group of people that often sets our hands a-shaking and our knees a-knocking. We can give the same message to our friends or our family without a second thought, so what is it about public speaking that renders us utterly immobile?
We were fortunate enough to speak with KC Baker, professional public speaking coach and creator of the School for the Well-spoken Woman live training, in yesterday’s Office Hours. Baker, who has coached many notable individuals through their TEDx Talks and given two of her own, believes in helping women “embrace the brilliance of their voices,” and told us there are three key things to remember to make public speaking a breeze:
Focus on delivering one key message.
Many of us, when faced with the task of delivering a presentation—whether it be to co-workers, to a classroom, or to an interviewer—suffer from not knowing how to say what we want to say. We fear talking in circles, or rambling endlessly. Baker says you should ask yourself, “At the end of the presentation, what is the one thing that I want them to remember?”
That one thing is what Baker calls your “diamond insight.” Take it and center your presentation around it. This will be your most essential piece of communication, and it will make your speech clearer and easier for your audience to absorb.
Commit to your message.
Becoming clear on your commitment to that key idea or message and the potential transformative power it has for your audience is the ultimate antidote to self-doubt, says Baker. Lack of commitment to your key message can also be the reason many people resort to speech fillers such as “like” or “um” or “you know” when addressing a crowd. Build that commitment and believe in it, and your audience will too.
Say “yes” to fear.
The heart-pounding adrenaline you feel as you prepare to take the stage is normal, but fear, says Baker, is actually the feeling of your power, says Baker.
If you can imagine that your audience’s attention on you is energy that charges you and fuels your key idea, you can learn to match it. That energy give you power, presence, charisma. By resisting that energy, Baker says we are resisting feeling the power that public speaking can bring.
Instead, say yes to the fear, and the resistance against it will subside.
Find more of KC Baker’s great advice in her Office Hours session: