When asked to give a talk, be sure you take control of the environment. The audio system is your lifeblood to the audience. By this I mean TEST the microphone / loudspeaker system. Not just bellowing “1-2-3.” Put on the head device, or clip on the lapel mic or hold the 10 inch mic in your hand. I really prefer the over the head kind – like Madonna made popular.
Hake sure the engineer tells you how far to hold these. Speak as you would during your talk. Don’t tell him “I have a booming voice – I don’t need a mic.” You do. There will be people in the audience that are hard of hearing. Many may ask to record your talk and you’ll need to have it come out crisp.
Another tip – when you turn your head to talk, you may lose the maximum connectivity to the system. This is really true with lapel mics. If you use a slide changer AND a laser pointer AND a hand-held, you either need to grow a new hand or learn to manage all three. I jam my bright green laser pointer next to the clicker (I do not like the wimpy red lasers on slide clickers), so they hold as one unit.
Who doesn’t feel their heart rate and blood pressure go up before giving a speech? You lie if you say you don’t! We all get a little dry in the throat and begin to sweat before heading out on stage. I used to sweat so much that I now wear nylon undershirts so it doesn’t bleed through.
The symptoms of Glossophobia are having an intense self-doubt prior to having to verbally communicate to a group. Another is when you go out of your way to avoid events where you may be called on to give a talk (hide under the radar?). Finally, intense Glossophobia can lead to nausea, and a real anxiety attack.
So how do you overcome it? If you want to succeed in the world – your platform has to include speaking. Take training courses in public speaking. Join Toastmasters International, POWERtalk International or the Association of Speakers Clubs. The more you are in front of people, the less you will suffer from Glossophobia.
One of the traits of a poor speaker is not accurately planning his or her talk to end on time. It must be remembered that the audience is not on your schedule. As much as you might like the limelight, it’s good to leave on an upbeat note.
If your agreement is to speak for 40-minutes and have 5 for questions, don’t think you are doing them a favor by giving more information as a bonus. 45 and off the stage! Here are some tips to accomplish this:
1. Rehearse then rehearse some more. Don’t assume you can write some notes and “wing” how long it will run.
2. Don’t trust your internal circadian rhythm to sense when your time is up; get a small analog clock and put it on the dais where you can glace at it. Don’t use your watch. The room may be too dark and it looks tacky.
3. If you get bogged down in questions, you still need to finish on time. Reply that “we are short on time, but I can meet you offstage after.” Those that have other engagements will appreciate this.
4. If you are approaching the 40 minute limit with 3 more thoughts to go on your prepared talk – just wrap it up then and end it. The audience will have no clue that you didn’t cover your last slides. Show flexibility and deliver a creative closing.