When I originally launched Crisp Copy, I couldn’t imagine public speaking would become part of my business journey.
The idea of speaking publicly, either in front of real, live humans or on the air, made my heart palpitate and mind race.
And here’s the odd thing: with a background and training from one of Australia’s premier Drama and Music institutions and a life time spent on stage (I started dancing at 2 and my first job was of professional cheerleader) I should have been completely confident.
However, to put yourself in the vulnerable position of public speaking is simply a different, more nerve wracking experience than communicating through words, or indeed, as it seems, song.
When I was asked to speak at my first event, I thought perhaps it would be a one off. It was a trial by fire – a full day of MCing to a hall full of clever people, complete with making up jokes and telling anecdotes about my kids and my job when the day’s schedule was held up.
Shortly after, I realised I had enough clients wanting to work with me one on one with digital communications training to put them all in a room together, do it all in one shot, and save them each a couple of hundred dollars.
From there, workshops were booked out, I received more invitations to speak, and I soon had to get used to the idea that this is how my clients wanted to meet me – in person. Teaching them something.
I’ve learned some tips on public speaking from not only stumbling through my own presentations but also from some highly effective public speakers I’ve met on the circuit.
I hope my tips will help you relax and prepare for the next time you tackle this formidable task.
5 Top Tips to Public Speaking Success (for introverted, scared little copywriters and other chickens).
Someone thinks you have something to say, and they are giving you the opportunity to make your voice heard.
When you add the feeling of sincere gratitude into the mix, the sheer anxiety dissipates a bit. If others have faith in your ability, you should give it a shot.
Don’t over structure everything you’re planning to say.
A structured speech can help you stay organised, but might feel unnatural for your audience if it is too rigid. With some flexibility, you can modify your speech as you go along.
Understand the content of your speech, and keep some things to say in mind, but don’t worry so much about where and when you will say them… they will flow out when the right moment presents itself.
Having some flexibility also takes into consideration that not all audiences are created equal. Be prepared to morph your presentation or speech in line with your audience response.
Get jazz hands.
Use your hands! It makes your audience feel more at ease, and you seem more personable. We’re human, after all, and we already communicate so much with body language.
So shake out those nerves and keep yourself moving. And more importantly, remember to take a deep breath before you begin.
There are some absolutely rivetingly fascinating TED talks about body language. Watch them and practice as you go.
Talk about something you love.
When you talk about something you’re crazy about, you’ve already prepared most of your speech.
In my podcasts and workshops, where I talk about Crisp Crow Communications and all that entails successful copywriting, I’m really talking about my love for writing. Passion and purpose are the perfect sources to begin a discussion. Plus, an audience wants to know who is speaking to them, and what better way to get to know a person by hearing them talk about something they love?
Impart some wisdom to the audience that they can use to implement change that very day.
You want your audience to go home having learned something they can practice in their personal or business lives right away.
While these are just a few tips on public speaking, it’s important to challenge the fear of putting yourself out there because that ultimately paves the way for something extraordinary.
When people come up to tell me how I helped change their lives, or when they send emails about how touched they were by something I said, it makes all that fear and gruelling anticipation worth it.
When I make connections after speaking, it reminds me how tangible my lesson is. Different people learn in different ways, so if we scrap the idea of giving a speech or presentation forever, we’re missing out on all that interaction with people who don’t learn by reading.
We’re all human, and we all have fears, but public speaking doesn’t have to be one of them.
Being asked to participate in these podcasts and workshops was all a real threat to my comfort zone, but as I always say: no one gets into small business to feel comfy.
Have questions? Want to know if I drank before hand? Shoot me a message below.
Jay Crisp Crow
Yep, really my name