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3 steps to increasing your public speaking skills

3 steps to improve your public speaking skill
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3 steps to increasing your public speaking skills

No one is born with the ability to speak in confidently in public or virtual meeting rooms alone with a camera trying to make magic happen. Let me take you back to the trigger experience that caused me to lift my speaking game and succeed as a public speaking coach.

It’s a Tuesday in October 2004, I am 21 years young and I’m standing in the men’s section of Myers picking out my very first suit for my interview as a flight attendant. I’m visibly nervous I don’t really understand why I was the class clown at school never felt nervous about speaking in front of others, I will be fine.

The day arrived, I jump in the car and make my way to the airport for the interview. It is a group interview, we are about twenty people competing for the job and I feel the pressure building in me.

The three interviewers’ set the pace. Please explain what makes you suited for the job using a flip chart we go alphabetically we start from the back, Tim you are up. Caught by surprise my heart sinks into the floor mouth dry and mind blank, my last thought, what is a flip chart, I walk up to the front I’m visibly shaking.

I’m standing in front of the class, I’m nervously looking for reassurance from the interviewer. I’m getting nothing. I start to recreate my CV on the chart. The interviewer that was quiet since now interrupts, this is not what we are after Tim we have your CV, tell us why you are the candidate we are looking for.

I stare at her through her, I’m blanking, and as on autopilot, I continue to write my CV on the chart. Again the interviewers interrupt, this is not what we are after Tim please impress us with what makes you the right person for the job.

I stare at him I stare at the class I got nothing… I can feel the ground under my feet slipping away. My heart is pumping out of my chest, I’m trying hard to be creative… I got nothing it is getting uncomfortable, not just for me, even the others begin to shift uncomfortably in their seats. I can see evil smirks appearing on some faces. Damn, how long have I not said anything, I lost my grasp of time, I’m drenched in a cold sweat.

Finally the interviewers relief me, thank’s Tim please take a seat. It’s over I blew it. I never had an issue speaking in front of others what happened?

Looking back with fifteen years speaking experience under my belt now I can pinpoint what went wrong in word, ego.

So what is the cure? How can you make sure that this does not happen to you? Be this in interviews on stage or in virtual meetings when the pressure is on?

Three simple steps can save you from a cold sweat and becoming a hot topic in the lunchroom minutes after.

  1. Prepare:think; what is the main fact you want to share? Why is this important to your audience? How will you speak about this? Examples metaphors and analogies are your best friends here.
  2. Structure:Do you have an intro, body and end? Is it simple to understand and is the content building on itself?
  3. Selfawareness:What is the environment you will be in? How is this affecting your ability? Are you aware of your emotions? Are you breathing and are you present?

If I could go back in time I would ask myself the above questions. Instead of relying on my ego I get with reality as it is, I prepare, I structure and I remain mindful of how I feel, think and act.

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