Speaking Tips for Speakers Who Are Just Getting Started

Amber Ludwig-VilhauerAre you new to speaking and feel those jitters come on when you have a gig lined up?

I was recently asked for a few tips a newbie speaker could keep in mind when entering into this type of career. Here was my advice:

You’re nervous because you’re about to be exposed and there’s the fear of messing up, or knowing less than the audience, or of how you’ll do.

A few suggestions:
  • Go to YouTube and check out videos that speak to this such as “speaker training” or “tips for speaking” etc. There is some great content on YouTube!
  • For me, I just really focus on the fact that it’s about the audience NOT about me. The nerves mean your focused on you – how you’ll do, what this means for you, etc. But, if you turn all of that energy to focus on “them” (how you’ll impact them, how to deliver the message to them etc) then your nerves should largely go away.
  • Know that nerves aren’t always bad. It means you’re on the brink of something great. So when you get nervous change your thinking to see the nerves as a good energy flowing through you – an excitement.
  • Get prepared. Outline what you want to say and practice in front of a mirror. Don’t acknowledge the times when you make a mistake, just keep flowing through the content until you’re done. Then do it again the whole way through. (The day before I was presenting a 6-hour workshop last year. I ran through the whole talk twice to make sure I was ready – then I barely needed my notes and I wasn’t nervous).
  • Try to kick the habit of any “filler” words you use. “So”, “um”, “ah”, “like” etc. This can be very distracting. Don’t over-focus, just try to kick the habit in advance if you can.
  • Get testimonials or written feedback, or video testimonials during and after the spot. From the audience and the event planner. This is great for future speaking. Try to video tape it if you can too – you may be able to sell or repurpose the content – or just use it to help you improve for the next time.

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What did you think of that advice? Do you have anything you’d like to add to the list?

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