I had the opportunity to be the spotlight speaker at two events this week. It was a chance to share a little about what I do here at Edit This® while also throwing in a few educational tidbits on the writing and editing front.
It all turned out great, but I was amazed at how incredibly nervous I was going in.
I mean, sure, it could have really hurt my business if I had stunk up the joint like some castoff from Day 1 of auditions for American Idol. Realistically, though, I knew that wasn't going to happen. It wasn't my first go-round with public speaking, and I knew my craft.
So I told myself, "wipe off that sweaty upper lip and put yourself out there, champ!"
You can read about the topic I spoke on: how to give your business a clear and authentic voice. You can also view a Facebook Live video here, and there are pictures below. But in the meantime, here are six things I've learned from public speaking – just in case you tend to get nervous:
Preparation is everything – Pregame jitters aside, everything worked out fine this week because my speech was written out, and I had practiced it for two weeks beforehand. You'd like to think you can just get up there and wing it, but it's not a good idea.
Mingle beforehand – It's easier to talk to a room full of strangers if they aren't strangers. Engage with your audience before – and again after – your speech. Introduce yourself, break the ice, and find out what they do. I did, and it eliminated a lot of my nervousness.
Every audience is different, and that's OK – Don't read into things if one crowd happens to be quieter than another. The first event I spoke at had a small crowd that was very quiet, but they ended up being the ones asking the most questions afterward.
Questions are a good thing – Someone asked me once, "Aren't you nervous about what questions they'll ask?" Noooooo! If an audience doesn't ask questions, it makes me think I didn't do my job as a speaker. You want engagement!
Never show up too early – It's important to show up early for a speaking engagement, but not too early. I showed up to the first event this week 90 minutes beforehand, and it only made me more nervous because I kept wondering if people were going to show up. Spend that extra time at home practicing your speech one more time.
Don't stress, put yourself out there – Ha! That's easier said than done, right? But at the end of the day, your audience is there to learn, and you're there to speak because you're an authority on your craft. I have a tremendous amount of respect for anyone who can get up in front of a room full of people and talk. And guess what? Your audience does, too.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. Thanks to Cathy Ueckert, Jennifer Harvey, and Diane Barton for the photos below.
*STEVE GAMEL is the President & Owner of Edit This, LLC, a writing and editing services company located in Denton, TX. Steve handles anything involving the written word. Give him a call today to help give your business a clear voice.