There are only 2 times when you are on your own when you are dead and when you are about to give a speech. It is very scary as you look out to your waiting audience, so silent you could hear a pin drop. The thoughts that go through your mind, the butterflies in the stomach a bead of sweat seems to be heading down your nose.
Welcome to giving a speech, seen as the number one phobia. It is something that everyone dreads, no matter how confident people seem. In my own experience, you get used to talking in public, or I started to enjoy it. It wasn’t something I chose to do. I good friend of mine suggested that I should do a small talk as I have so much knowledge in my head that people need to know. I agreed to do a talk, I can’t remember what my first talk was.
What I do remember is really enjoying my mind and body talks. So much so that I use to do a talk about body language, the store I would do these talk had a beautiful room in the roof, surrounded by large comfortable cushions, if you got there early otherwise you sat on the floor. The body language talk would attract 60 people. The room was packed I couldn’t see the carpet. I had to stand as no room to sit, ladies literally sitting on my toes. Madness loved it. My favourite subject.
It’s important you know your subject otherwise your audience will find you out, there is always going to be various people in the audience who will attack you verbally, or like to be heard and show off.
One talk I did on hypnosis, it was public talk anyone could turn up, so you never know who will turn up and what they will ask you. This talk a company owner of a training company that did a teaching on NLP and Hypnosis turned up. This guy went for me most of the night. During the 2 hours I spoke for, he tried to challenge every book I mentioned.
What he found was I had read every book I mentioned and I really knew my knowledge. I had at one point, just had to say directly that as this was a public talk, would he please stay quiet and talk to me at the end. He resigned himself and admitted that I did know my knowledge and stayed quiet for the remaining talk.
Be honest with your audience, if you don’t know, just say so. There is no shame in not knowing. I use to have a belief that I had to know everything to any question I would ever be asked. I got asked a general question about if I was going to the moon, how many miles is it etc.. I completely crumbled, got hot and sweaty panicked. I didn’t know the answer, I had been found out, I’m rubbish.
Changing your beliefs
This really happened. I could never have known the answer. It was a game-changer for me. I had to except. I couldn’t and wasn’t expected to have all the answers. That night I changed my belief. That it was OK not to know everything.
Now, I have always wanted to do a large audience and take questions from them about any mind and body questions, because I really have studied this area for the last 20 years. I am still learning about neuroscience and quantum mechanics. Plus if I get a question I will just say. I am sorry I don’t know enough about that subject and move on.
It’s important to be congruent with yourself. Try this. Start nodding your head as if you are saying No no no so head going from side to side, then start verbally saying Yes Yes Yes. What will happen is your head will start going in circles. As your thinking No but saying Yes. Ask a friend how their relationship is going, if they say ” yes its really great” but nodding the head in a No position. Sounds obvious and simple. However, they won’t notice they are doing it. Try it. Now you realise the importance of being congruent on stage or the platform your standing on.
Getting an award
In 2014. I was working for the Sussex probation service in the PPO (Prolific Priority Offender’s) high-risk cases from prison. There were 8of us in the close working team and every one of us had a part to play in working with each individual Offender. We were so good at what we did, we built a model that is currently used by all police forces in the UK. We won an award and due to this, we were asked if we could do a presentation on our work.
The location was kept secret as many high ranking police officers and a couple from New York and Government were going to be there. The audience was going to be no less than 250 officers. As you can imagine, there was no rush to offer to speak, 6 out the 8 of us did. I remember my name being called out to speak next. I panicked but moved forward towards the microphone. I started my very prepared speech, my friend was in control of the photos appearing on screen behind me, as there was no way, I could talk, do photos and look at my audience in the eye.
A strange thing happened as I spoke. I relaxed. I could hear my words coming out don’t know what they were saying. I then started to be nosy and look around the room at all the police staff looking at me. It was very odd but also very calming, something I will never forget. My presentation was complete. I returned to my chair. Would I do it again? No. But at least I had a go and now have the memory to talk about.
It is good to step out of your comfort zone, do something that scares you, you may end up enjoying it. The stage is yours.