I see plenty of “speaking coaches” talk about how to stand, what to do with your hands, and how to smile and project while you’re talking...
Blah blah. I don’t think that’s the way to go about it.
I think people get nervous about public speaking because they think it’s a performance, and if they don’t perform well, people won’t like them, won’t listen, and they’ll be stuck up there on the stage, vulnerable, failing, with nowhere to hide…
That’s a panic attack waiting to happen. It’s torturous, and I really feel for anyone who goes through that, and it makes me angry that there are “coaches” reinforcing this idea that it’s a performance.
You ever seen a media-trained politician or leader who really engages you? No matter how “polished” their “stagecraft” is, it’s still bullshit.
I think the most important thing is to believe, truly, that people need to hear what you have to say. That it’s going to be of value to them.
Because then it’s not about you. You’re not performing. You’re a messenger. And you can share your message even if your “performance” isn’t polished.
It takes the pressure off. Some of the most-watched TED talks aren’t the most polished performances. Sometimes the speakers are nervous. You can see it. It’s not comfortable to watch someone nervous, but you do, because what they have to say is important to you.
It’s the voice in your head listening to your performance, analysing it - that’s what detaches you from what you’re saying, that’s what kills it, that’s what brings the fear.
Stay connected with your message, and don’t worry about your performance.
This is maybe the secret to more than just public speaking, don’t you think?