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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.

accenture
UBS
Ricoh
Euromoney
University of Cambridge

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