Celarity Blog • Updated Sep 18, 2018
One Fear Most People Rank Higher Than Death…Public Speaking
By Katherine Konrad, an experienced marketing professional and recent Celarity contractor
In school, at work, or generally in life, you are guaranteed to give a presentation in front of other people at least once in your life. Whether that’s a quarterly results speech in front of your company, a one-on-one interview, or a wedding toast. Aside from picturing everyone in their underwear (does that actually work for anyone?) we’ve got some more tips and tricks to help you tackle the one fear most people rank higher than death…public speaking.
(Don’t) break it down
Visualize the act in fluidity, not the breakdown of steps. Focusing on the details gets you too much in your head and will throw you off your game. When athletes remember the movement and feeling of the movement or the act, they’re much more likely to perform successfully than if their expending their brain power on how to perform each individual movement. Of course, practice helps with this in order to get to a spot where you can rely on the memory of a muscle, a speech cadence, or a feeling.
Easy as 1, 2, 3
Or not … In the same vein of not breaking your public speaking performance into steps – Freakonomics podcast points to the expertise of Steve Jarding, a political communication professor at Harvard. Jarding advises his students to never incorporate lists in their speeches. This act alone puts too much pressure on the brain and you’re almost always guaranteed a lapse in memory the moment the numbers start leaving your lips.
Case-in-point: a transcript of Texas Governor, Rick Perry, during a debate:
It’s three agencies of government when I get there that are gone. Commerce, Education, and the uhhhh… What’s the third one there, let’s see… The third one I can’t. Sorry. Oops.
You is smart, you is kind
… And you is important. Take a line out of the movie The Help and take a few minutes to write about your strengths. Getting into this daily habit will boost confidence overtime which arms you with one of the most important skills for giving successful performances. Just remember, that it’s important to make sure your positive affirmations are specific, and fact-based. i.e. I remember that I’ve succeeded in “X” situation before.
Taking time to meditate daily helps connect your thoughts with your breath, with your body and helps create awareness of emotion — how it impacts your physiology, how it is fleeting, and how you can be aware so you can either harness or control. If you’re the type of person who can’t put their phone down long enough to meditate (I have my hand raised) there’s an app for that! Simple Habit – Meditation has free meditation sessions on your phone that take as little as five minutes while you wind down for bed.
Ain’t no party like a PowerPoint party
Cause a PowerPoint party … is … a thing? Yes, it’s a thing. Grab several friends, some drinks and snacks and sit down for a night of polishing presentation skills and entertainment. Like I say, there’s no better substitute for practice – so, why not make it fun?
I’d like to give a Toast
If you can’t entice your friends into a PowerPoint party, and you’d like some more expert guidance and training in the art of speech-giving: Toasmasters is another route to go. It’s internationally accredited, yet locally accessible. And you’re totally going to knock your best friend’s wedding toast out of the park with this tutelage under your belt.
Looking for more career advice? Check out these posts!
Katherine is a marketing professional by day, and a content creator by night. She enjoys summers in Minnesota, and anywhere else in the winter. When she’s not writing you can find her exploring new neighborhood hangouts; dressed up at a social event; jogging around Minneapolis lakes; or staring at her phone.
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