Hi, I’m Vanessa from SpeakEnglishWithVanessa.com. Do you have a fear of public speaking? Let me help you. Have you ever needed to give a speech in your native language? How about in English? A very nonprofessional study I did of my friends shows that 99% of people have a fear of giving a speech in public. If you are part of that 0.01%, you can go ahead and leave. But oh, okay, I see everyone is still there, all right. Today I’d like to give you some more tools in your public speaking toolbox to help you feel more comfortable and confident when you give a presentation or when you speak in public.
To be a confident public speaker, you need to bring your A game. When you bring your A game, that means that you are bringing the best part of yourself forward. You are doing your best. So let’s talk about three skills that you need.
In order to bring your A game, you need to bring your body game, your mental game, and your preparation game. To help you bring your A game, I am going to give you a little presentation. This is going to be public speaking practice for me, but it’s also a presentation about the way you can best bring your A game.
Are you ready? Let’s go. Let’s start by talking about your body game. When you give a presentation, how are your shoulders? Are they hunched forward or back? Do you feel like you’re standing up tall? How about your spine? Is it leaning over or do you feel like you’re reaching high to the sky? One of the most popular TED Talks on YouTube is by a lady called Amy Cuddy.
And she was talking about how your posture affects how other people see you. But it’s also how you see yourself. So when you are giving a presentation like this, or even if you stand like this, you feel smaller and less important.
If you stand strong, other people will feel that too. But most importantly, you will feel like that. So that’s why we’re talking about your body game first so that you can prepare your body with good posture, which will also affect your mind.
When you walk into a conference room to give a speech, are you walking like this, kind of hunched over and not sure of yourself, trying to feel a little bit smaller? Or are you standing straight and tall and confident? Even if you don’t feel like it, it’s good to have a posture like that.
You don’t have to walk in like some kind of overconfident gorilla, being a little bit crazy. But being confident in your posture, even a little bit, will make a big difference. The next part is your mental game.
So we’ve already talked about your body game, making sure that your body and your posture are the best they can be. But what about what’s going on inside your head? Well, when you are prepared and ready and thinking positively about your presentation, it’s already the best start.
I want you to focus your mind on being positive. This is easier for some people than for other people. Some people are naturally more positive and some people are naturally more negative about things in their lives.
So I have one big tip that will help you to be a little bit more positive. When you’re giving a presentation, whether it’s in front of a big crowd of people, just a couple of people, or just a business presentation, try to focus on how your presentation will help other people.
When you focus on helping other people and meeting their needs, you’re less likely to be stressed about it yourself. So I challenge you to think about how this marketing presentation will affect the people I’m talking with. If you think, “Okay, my presentation will help them to get a better marketing plan and will sell more,” then you’re already feeling a little bit more positive.
This is for those of you who struggle with negative self-talk. the mental game section is really tough for you. I challenge you every morning, especially right before you’re about to give a presentation, to create some kind of short and easy positive sentence.
Sometimes we call that an affirmation, and that means that you’re thinking about something that will positively affect your mind, and usually that’s how your presentation will affect other people. So maybe in the morning when you wake up, two days before your presentation, you say, “My marketing presentation will help us sell more products.
This is super simple and it’s not really fancy. But when you say that to yourself with a deep breath, “My marketing presentation will help us sell more products.” It’s so simple, hopefully, it’s true.
You’re focusing on the positive things—the impact that your presentation will have instead of the mistakes that you’ll make and all of those things that make us feel really nervous. The third game is the preparation game.
Now, this is the one that a lot of us focus on the most. Writing the speech, making sure we have the best pictures on our PowerPoint, all of that. But do you know what? Sometimes we overlook actually saying the speech out loud and preparing it verbally.
If English is your native language, it’s usually recommended that you practice your speech three times. But if English is not your native language, imagine if you are watching this, it’s probably not.
It is best to do it more than three times. Three times is not enough. This is my recommendation. Practice your speech twice, paying special attention to your intonation and the way you say it. Make sure that you have all the words exactly the way that you’d like them, and then, on the third try, I challenge you to record yourself.
You could just record your voice. That’s a good first step, but because we’ve already talked about how your body and your mental game are also really important, I challenge you to record yourself with your phone.
You can just set it up. It could be really simple if you just practice the speech in front of the camera. And then go back and watch that as if you were the audience as if you were your coworkers sitting and watching your presentation.
Or if you’re giving a speech in front of a big group of people, imagine that you’re the audience. What do you think of the audience? Are you engaging and looking at them? Are you feeling really nervous? And you can see, “Oh, I’m stuttering a lot. I’m shaking a lot.
Try to assess your body and your words as if you were the audience. After you’ve recorded yourself, I want you to practise it two more times. This is going to help you to just level up your skills. You’ve already kind of assessed or critiqued yourself.
So those two other times should be way better than the first two times that you did it. What do you think a professional athlete does on the day of their big game? Do you think that they watch some TV and kind of just sit around? No, they do not distract themselves from their objective, which is to win that game.
So this is what I want you to do on the day that you have a presentation. Let’s say you have a presentation at 3:00 PM. When you go to work, focus on that presentation, review it, and do everything that you can for that presentation.
I want to give you a quick example of this guy, Ryan Suter. He’s a hockey player. He has a very strict game-day routine, and I think it’s a good way to show that professional athletes are not distracted on the day of their big game because they want to fulfill their potential.
They want to do the best that they can. So you can also kind of imitate his style. On the day of his big game, he goes to the skating rink, skates a little bit, talks with his coaches, and they have a meeting with the team.
Then when his team goes out to lunch, he orders the same thing. You don’t need to do that; it’s a little extreme. But he orders the same thing every time. And then, after that, he takes a quick nap, goes back to the rink, talks with his coworkers or his teammates, talks with the coaches, and gets a chance to kind of mentally prepare for the game.
Then they go on the ice, they practice, and they have the game. Did he do anything that day that wasn’t related to hockey? Not really, except for eating and taking a nap, which are kind of necessary for life. So I want you to focus on nothing else that day if you have a big presentation and you especially feel really nervous about it.
Try to do everything that you can possibly do for that speech on the date to get your mind ready, to prepare yourself. So on the day of your big presentation, I want you to focus. Don’t distract yourself. Don’t have friends over for lunch and talk about other things.
Focus on your presentation. Visualize it going well. Everyone’s responding positively; you’re having a great time; they’re understanding; they’re learning a lot, and your speech is helping them to achieve their goals.
So in conclusion, to bring your A game to your presentation, you need to bring your body game, great posture, your mental game, positive thoughts, and your preparation game, active practice. So thank you so much for this quick presentation.
Thank you for learning with me. I hope that your presentation skills will improve from here. How did you enjoy that presentation? My presentation skills are not perfect. My speaking style is not perfect, but I want to come across as a professional.
Someone who knows a lot more about public speaking than me. So if you would like to dig deeper into this topic of having confidence when you give a speech in public, I invite you to join me in my course, The Fearless Fluency Club.
This month you’re going to meet Nathan, who’s one of the organizers of a local group called Toastmasters. Toastmasters is a nonprofit international organization that helps anyone in the community who wants to participate learn to speak better and more confidently in front of others.
I also visited Nathan’s Toastmaster Meeting here in my city. So if you join The Fearless Fluency Club this month, you’ll get access to my conversation with Nathan about public speaking skills, some of the positive things he’s learned, and some of the negative things he’s learned.
And you’ll also get access to a Toastmasters meeting. I went to this meeting and I recorded it, so you can kind of get a sneak preview of what a Toastmasters’ meeting is like. It was actually a lot of fun.
So if you would like to learn more about public speaking, feel free to join me in The Fearless Fluency Club. And make sure that you write the word “new” in the coupon code section, so that you can get the first 30 days of the course for only $5.
The regular price is $35 per month. But if you write the word “new,” you’ll get it for just $5 for the first month. Now I have a question for you. Have you ever given a speech in English? Have you ever given a speech in your own language? Let me know in the comments below.
You’ll learn what you need to do to speak confidently and fluently.