Your Audience is Naked. Now What?
Talking in front of other people is hard, like really hard. I don’t know why everyone’s number one tip is to picture the audience naked. First, ew; second, why?
Honestly, the thought of a naked audience makes me more uncomfortable.
The first three sentences can be the make or break moment for your audience. Whether you’re delivering the FFA creed to the entire freshman intro to ag class, or competing in a CDE for a spot in the national convention, it’s better to be overly prepared.
If you’re like the majority of society, you’re busy. We get it. But, we all know no great speech was ever the result of a first take. Make practicing a priority and squeeze in a few sessions when you can. Here is a list of places you should be practicing before the big moment.
Before you fall asleep
Hanging in your friend’s room
Before class starts
During timeouts at the local ‘hoops game
While Netflix buffers
While walking your show stock
While eating soup
While you should be paying attention in class
In the grocery store
During pep rallies
Basically anywhere and everywhere.
Make it memorable
Some situations warrant the use props, which can be something as small as a paperclip or as large as a tractor. While you don’t need to bare your soul for the audience to carry your talking points, a personal connection with your audience can go a long way in allowing the presentation to be memorable. Bring the audience into your moment, garner their imagination, include them in the journey.
Crank the volume
Arrive at your venue early with a partner in the back of the room who can help you adjust to an appropriate level, because the last thing you want is to give a perfectly prepared speech that only reaches the ears in the first row. Speak clearly and with a solid, natural voice.
I don’t know how your body reacts under pressure, but mine runs out of oxygen.
Depending on how nervous I feel, I can be physically winded from public speaking. To downplay your anxiety, take a few short, quick breaths followed several long ones. This method has been proven to slow your heart rate forcing your body to relax.
Whether you can relate to my personal experience or not, this breathing method can help anyone overcome public speaking jitters. Know where you can take opportunities to breathe during your speech and utilize them.
Move with purpose. You should never be pacing around the stage during just for the sake of movement. Find your spot, stand there, move when naturally inclined to do so, and speak. Do your best not to look robotic.
You’ve done everything possible to prepare yourself for this moment. Own it. If you’re prepared it will come down to muscle memory and your sole contribution will be the delivery. Keep your chin up and smile. No one knows how to do this better than you.
Have a tip that needs to be on this list like, yesterday? Drop it in the comments.