This month I’m going to share a simple tip that really helps my speakers. (And me!)
It works if the following ever happens to you…
Does your brain sometimes throw up questions of the scary variety?
What if you totally forget what you’re doing in the middle of your talk?
What if everyone thinks your talk is boring?
What if you mess up your slides and get ahead of yourself?
It’s not a problem in itself that these thoughts pop up. Or that they might be doing so out of a sense of icy fear. It’s perfectly normal and human that they do. What we don’t want to do though is just leave them shivering unanswered in our brain.
I help my speakers do the following:
1) Answer the question in a friendly way, where it makes sense to do so.
Eg For ‘What if you totally forget what you’re doing in the middle of your talk?’
I hear you. It does sound scary forgetting things in the middle of the talk. Even if this did happen what I would do is…pause for a moment, breathe, take a sip of my water, and then pick up from the next point that I could remember.
It is often way less scary to answer the question than just to leave it hanging!
2) Gently question the question, reframe it, or ask a related quality question (I.e. one that leads us in a constructive direction.) When questions pop up out of fear or insecurity they can often be really generalised, and leave out all sense of what could go well for us.
Eg For ‘What if everyone thinks your talk is boring?’
Yes, it would suck if EVERYONE thought my talk was boring. Is that really likely though? Particularly when I am really thinking about the audience that will be there, how I can engage them, and share in a generous and interesting way.
Are there any particular parts of this talk that I want to improve, if I am thinking about interest levels? Or am I a human worrying right now, when maybe I could remind myself what is interesting and what is working well?
I hope that helps!