How to Relax Before Making a Speech

Some people can get up and speak before 500 strangers and not give it a second thought, but they would rather have root canal without anesthesia than introduce themselves to a stranger at a cocktail party.  And, of course, the opposite is also sometimes the case – probably more so!  It is to those individuals that I offer a couple of tricks and a few games:

Two tricks:

Tip #1    The morning of the speech take an extra long shower and go over the presentation in your mind.  That way, you’ll not only know that you can do it but that you can make the speech without notes.  Since you’ll actually have the notes with you when you make the speech, you’ll be psychologically in a better place.

Tip #2    Start a conversation with someone just prior to starting the speech.  Have the speech be a continuation of that conversation.  Look at that individual with whom you had be chatting until you become calm – but only for the first few seconds, otherwise it just looks weird!

Three mind games:

Tip #3    Remember this:  Before every performance Lawrence Olivier and Red Skeleton would both lose their lunch, hug the porcelain, or whatever other phrase you don’t find offensive.  If arguably the world’s greatest actor, who once played Hamlet in the afternoon and Othello in the evening, and perhaps the greatest clown of all time, could go on stage and do what they did despite chronic stage fright, who are you to be nervous?

Tip #4  Remember this:  The majority of the people who will be looking at you would rather lose a limb than be standing in your shoes. They’re a bunch of cowards!  You’re the brave one!

Tip #5  Remember this:  You’re the expert.  All those people who you are so afraid of have come to hear what you have to say.  You haven’t come to hear them!

Now, in case you are worried about some jerk asking you a stupid question, here’s the perfect answer:

You know, Mother Teresa once said,”If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish motives; be kind anyway.  If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; succeed anyway.  If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway.  What you spend years building someone could destroy overnight; build anyway.”

Most people will think you a profound.  The jerk won’t have a clue what you are talking about.  And if he shouts out from the audience, “What’s that supposed to me?”  Smile and say, “I’m sure once you think about it, you’ll understand.”

What’s he going to do, argue…with Mother Teresa?!