- Next trainer development cohort 23rd - 27th September 2024

My failsafe tip to ease speaking nerves

19th February, 2022

My failsafe tip to ease speaking nerves

I have to admit, I was unusually nervous.


It was the first time I’d spoken live to a large audience in over a year, and the venue (Olympia, London) was a biggie.


Added to this the set up wasn’t ideal – my masterclass theatre was open air to the rest of the huge exhibition.  So I had to fight against background music and the chatter of thousands of people and their clanking coffee cups.


Cue super sweaty palms.


But as people started filing in,  I remembered the one thing that I always do to calm my nerves before a big speaking gig: speak to the audience.


I chatted to the early birds in the front row to see why they’d come and what their communication challenges were.


I found out:


  • One guy was an incredible 7’ 1” tall and needed the extra legroom!
  • Two frustrated recruiters couldn’t get through to clients on the phone or in person anymore so had to rely on email to do everything.  And their emails weren’t working.
  • A talent manager was struggling to get candidate’s attention online.


All gold dust for my talk.


So when I started speaking, the audience weren’t strangers to me anymore.  I had names I could refer to.  Real-life-in-the-room examples I could quote.  And friendly faces smiling at me, as we’d already made a connection.


Look how happy it made me!








You can use this technique for an online talk or meeting too, with some chitchat with attendees as they enter your Zoom room.


It’s a simple and effective way to create an instant connection with your audience.


Hope this helps if you get the pre-speech jitters.

University of Cambridge


- Next trainer development cohort 23rd - 27th September 2024

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