Most people say they get the chills when they have to speak in public. No wonder, when most of us have been advised at one time or another that the way to overcome our fear is to imagine our audience naked (or in the PG version – in their underwear.) I don’t know about you, but it is COLD in most of the rooms I speak in. Of course, we shiver!
Poke fun as we might to make the monster seem less scary, the fact is that presenting is still one of the hardest things for most of us to do — particularly when it is on a large scale to a big room. Even if you have a lot of experience at it you still know something unexpected can happen at the most inopportune time. My own personal low point (literally) was falling off an elevated stage in front of a national sales meeting audience. Fortunately, the room knew me well and applauded my return to the stage. It actually made the rest of the presentation easier and it was certainly one of my most memorable, though I wouldn’t care to repeat the experience even at that.
If you are called on to present often you have probably had some sort of training or support. There are literally thousands of articles, classes and online aids available. Perhaps you have even had coaching provided, or sought it out on your own. One of the best things to happen to my presenting skills was when MossWarner’s own Lee Nichols stood in the back of a hall before a big meeting and literally yelled at a young product manager to shake him out of his robotic trance.
We can’t all be lucky enough to have a good coach. But we can all take advantage of the great advice Melissa Drozdowski serves up in “The Naked Truth About Public Speaking”. Hey, you know you are going to get good stuff from someone who spoofs the biggest myth about overcoming your fears in her title!