5) Can I Avoid Looking Foolish when I Speak?

Short Answer:  Yes.

Long Answer:  We all want to avoid looking foolish when Speaking in public, and in most cases most people hardly ever do look foolish. But they can ‘feel foolish’ as often as they allow themselves.

Yes, this is one of those moments where you have to take responsibility for your feelings. Now stop here for a moment and think about how that applies to You.

If you have a Presentation or Speech to give, and you can’t avoid it, there are several actions you can take to ensure a more successful experience.

1st.  Decide clearly the “Role” you will be filling as the Speaker. (see Show#23 for further guidance on this) Then, after you’re defined your Role,

2nd.  Prepare your Presentation as that Speaker would prepare. Is the Event happy, sad, angry, hopeful, positive or negative? Begin by creating your Presentation or Speech guided by your feelings. Then,

3rd.  Build your Presentation or Speech in a sensible, logical, linear style with a Beginning, a Middle, and an End. Make sure you say exactly what you have to say. Be clear. Next,

4th.  Once you’ve completed the 1st draft, “let it breathe.” I mean, leave it alone for awhile, a day if you have the time. At least, take a walk, ride your bike, go meet a friend for a coffee. Afterwards, return to your speech and edit it to clarify, simplify, and shorten. Now,

5th.  Practice reading it out loud, by yourself. During this time, avoid working in front of a mirror or friends. Read it again, and then again. Feel the words as you say them. Hear the words as you deliver the lines. Speak with commitment and an energy level that is appropriate for the occasion.

How do the words feel in your mouth? How does it sound to you? Evaluate the Speech, don’t censure yourself. How do you like it? Are you being true to the occasion, and to yourself? You’ll know. Keep the delivery fresh. Don’t practice it so many times that you diminish the energy or the sense of spontaneity.

By now, you should feel connected to Your presentation, and it truly is Your Presentation. Your feelings, your design, your words, your preparation, your practice. Now, with this much behind you, your main task is simply to stay focused on your information and the reason you’re Speaking.

Focus, Breathe, Deliver. Do that with Sincerity & Commitment and you’ll perform Successfully. Enjoy the opportunity.

Performance of Speaking© is a Learnable set of Skills.

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