Spice Up Your Public Speaking

From time to time many of you have to speak in public, this could be talking in a meeting, presenting in front of an audience or simply chatting amongst friends.

Some of you do this extremely well but many of you may consider yourself to be terrible at it. In whatever manner you perform it has a strong impact in the way others think about you. Due to this for a number of you public speaking causes immense anxiety, concern and fear.

I have been known to be an introvert by my family members and friends. One-thing surprises them all is my ability to speak in public in front of hundreds of people with passion and conviction. To them the fear of public speaking is overwhelming and are still unable to comprehend how I manage myself in such nerve wracking situations.

What none of them are aware of is that I too had a great fear of speaking in public. During my university years an extremely terrible incident happened to me, well in my world for that age it was painful and a nasty experience. Now when I look at the scenario it was totally humours and I had take the whole event out of proportion.

The event revolved around presenting a one-year project, to three lecturers and the remaining 20 to 30 students in the class. In my books I failed miserably although I had just passed the presentation session. That event changed my career choice, I went into an IT role where I just had to troubleshoot issues. In no time I started training people in using systems on a one to one basis. Craig Chapman, one my manager’s, is the one who change the game for me in 1998 where he got me to deliver trainings without me even realising what I was doing.

So, what did I learn from all of this, in other words how did I manage to overcome my fear of public speaking. My experience showed an insight that assisted me to outperform myself and sharpen my skills on a regular basis. This is where the SPICE in each session is derived from:

• Support – this is simply learning to recognise the people who will encourage you on your path and many a times hold your hands where need be

• Prepare – remember preparation, preparation, preparation for every talk you do; even if it is a 30-second pitch

• Inner Belief – learn to believe in what you do, have the conviction and passion in yourself

• Communication – first comes your internal communication, what goes on in your mind than comes the rest such as words, voice, body language and visual appearance

• Entertain – this does not necessary mean to be a raving actor, it simply means to engage with your audience through stories, metaphors, facts and emotions

Many books have been written on public speaking but the only sure way to get better is to take action, actually find any opportunity to present and be out there. There is a simple yet magical potion know as “P3” that I would suggest when taking this action. It means plan, preparation and practice. In other words no matter how good you are you are only as good as your last performance. It is important to remember “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” – Vince Lombardi

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