Public Speaking Success

Share

As many of you know, public speaking was an area I had real issues with. But recently I stood up infront of hundreds of people in Washington D.C with cameras rolling, and gave a 65 min presentation that went REALLY well.

So how on earth did I manage to overcome my biggest fear in life, and not only do it, but do it well?

Quite simply, I was given great advice.

So I thought that today I would share some of that advice with you today. Afterall, If I can do it, ANYONE can do it.

1: Don’t Fight the Inevitable

I started out by saying things like: “I could do a good presentation, but only if I am not nervous”… here is the thing, you ARE going to be nervous. Even experts get nervous after years of practice.

Accept the nerves, do not fight them, and don’t beat yourself up over them.

They are there to help you, so even though they may not feel great, and they may even keep you up at night… ultimately, they WILL help you.

One person told me that when I start to feel nervous, I should try and amplify it, and say to myself “bring it on!”.

Beating yourself up over nerves is only going to make you feel worse, please remember that.

2: Visualise Success

Ok, I know this sounds kinda cheesy, but it works. I believe it was the US golfer Fred Couples who as a teenager, used to visualise and practice giving his Masters winners’ interview.

Here is the amazing thing… the US Masters was the ONLY major he won, and guess who was the guy doing the interview?

The guy who shared a room with him at college who he practiced the interview with.

Your brain is a funny thing… it doesn’t fully know the difference between you visualising it and actually doing it. So when I was walking on stage for the first time, my head thought I had already done it a few times.

3: Structure is key.

I don’t have time to get into structure too deeply, but it is VITAL.

The key is to tell them what you are about to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you just told them.

This helps people remember you.

Also, summarise each section, ideally with 3 points per section. Then summarise at the end.

4: Have a creative opener

This is vital.

The first 5 mins and the last 5 mins are most of what people will remember, and the first 5 mins is when you will be most nervous, so you have to have your opening ready.

I like to make people laugh, so it was vital that my opener achieved some laughter.

I spoke with the host (Yanik Silver) and said that it was important that he got everyone to stand and clap as I came on stage… then, when I walked on stage I said “please, please….. continue”.

Not the greatest joke in the world, but it got a big laugh, and people relaxed, which helped me relax.

5: Have a bottle of water.

I brought the biggest bottle of water I could find. I did this for two reasons:

1) My mouth goes dry pretty quickly when I speak
2) If my hand started to shake, it wouldn’t be noticeable with a large, heavy bottle.

Ideally you want to take a drink every 10 mins or so.

You can structure your presentation to give you water breaks, for example, you could show a video clip.

I personally asked the audience a question, or, I asked them to write down a specific point. This bought me 5 seconds in which to drink.

6: Practice

Many people say that practicing in a mirror is useful… for me, it would make me feel like a prat.

You have to practice the REAL thing.

So, I arranged to do 3 webinars with a LIVE audience of hundreds of people. This helped me fight the nerves, whilst practicing my material.

Then, when I was comfortable doing it via audio, I did it infront of a small, live audience on two occasions.

Was I nervous?

YES, but better to be nervous infront of a few people than a few hundred. Had I just gone to Washington with no practice, I would have been a mess.

7: Perspective

Nobody has ever died from public speaking. Worst case scenario was that I looked a fool… but in the grand scheme of things, is that so bad?

I would have felt more of a fool for not taking this opportunity, so it was a no lose scenario.

It is key you put it into perspective, I was given the news the day before I flew to Washington that my ex had been in a car crash (hit by a drunken bus driver)… and whilst this was awful news, it made me realise that some things are more important than saying a few words on stage.

Summary

This was one of the hardest and scariest things I have ever done in my life. But I did it, and it went really well, and what’s more, I really enjoyed it. So much so that I may well follow people’s advice and consider doing it regularly.

PS: A special thanks to the three people who went out of their way to actively help me with this. You know who you are. Beers are on me.

  • http://recommended2u.com Ray

    Hey Dean, I always thought Macclesfield and Bollington residents had no problems speaking in public. Most days they can be heard voicing their opinions in the street.
    Nice to know that there are some quiet people about still.

    Ray

    Current score: 0
  • http://deanhunt.com Dean Hunt

    Ray, haha.

    I only recently moved there, so not found my voice yet ;-)

    Current score: 0
  • http://www.changeofheartstresssolutions.blogspot.ca Marianna

    Standing ovation for you, Dean!

    I love hearing stories of people over-coming their fears. It’s the fizz in the pop (soda to our U.S. friends)[icing on the cake is so cliche] when the outcome is as positive as yours.

    One more tip: Speak from the heart!

    Love how you illustrated this post!

    @AuntieStress

    P.S. Stress is created by our perceptions…your ex’s accident allowed you to have a change of heart. (My heart goes out to her.)

    Current score: 0
  • http://twitter.com/everest135 Anne

    Picture everyone in the audience owes you money.

    Current score: 0
  • http://stubborndreams.wordpress.com Kevin Lee

    @Dean

    Another subliminal-type trick is to get there early and greet/shake the hands of everyone you can as they enter the auditorium. Because people are friendlier to those who aren’t strangers (even though shake/greet is barely above stranger)

    You are a successful entrepreneur in other areas, and I think the fact that you were experiencing issues with public speaking speaks to the fact that success is not transitive (e.g. being good at A does make you good at B). Any thoughts on increasing transitivity?

    Kevin

    Current score: 0
  • http://theconfidenceguyonline.com/blog Steve Errey – The Confidence Guy

    Congrats Dean. Being scared silly about something has nothing to do with whether you’re any good at it or not – people too often link being scared with being crap.

    Looks like you’ve found something new to have fun with and be great at :D

    Current score: 0
  • http://www.unlimitedpoweronline.com Ernesto Verdugo

    Dean Good to know that you are already a speaker! Look forward to having yo in Dubai in the Unlimited Power Online event in 2009

    Current score: 0
  • http://www.4urworld.com Teresa

    I knew you could do it and do it well. Wish I could have been there to hear your presentation. I bet you made it very entertaining, just as you make your site here entertaining.

    How is your ex? I hope she is going to be okay. I hate Drunken Drivers!!!

    Current score: 0
  • http://deanhunt.com Dean Hunt

    Teresa,

    You can see it when the DVD is released.

    Yes, I tried to make it entertaining, the feedback I got was that it was funny, an eye-opener and fresh.

    I didnt see anyone leave the room, which is a rare thing.

    Still plenty of room for improvement, but I was very happy.

    Elena is doing well thanks, it was obviously a big shock for her, but she is back home now, and Max (the English Bulldog) is taking good care of her.

    Speak soon.

    Dean

    Current score: 0
  • john

    Hi Dean,

    Nice post,I haven’t been a regular at your blog for long and so I could not believe at first that you were kinda afraid to speak in public.I mean from reading your blog no one would guess so(that’s how confident you sound when you write):).Glad to know that you have overcome it now.

    One of the things I am really impressed about is your writing skills.I know you have worked hard on it and spent a good deal of time and money.If it is okay with you,can you recommend some resources(sites,books,ebooks,coaches,whatever) for becoming good at copywriting.I know google is my friend and all but I would love to hear your personal recommendation.

    Sorry to hear about your ex.Hope she’s doing well now.

    Current score: 0
  • http://www.shoutmeloud.com/digg-the-beginners-guide.html P@r@noid

    Practice is a keyword here….
    This also give confidence and you are prepared….!!!

    Great tips meanwhile

    Current score: 0
  • http://www.companiesnow.com.au Comp

    Ah the nerves have been invited to be MC at a wedding coming up and I am quietly (#**%&%) myself!

    Great tips and will certainly follow advice

    Current score: 0
  • http://www.millionaireacts.com Millionaire Acts

    Hi Dean, with your guts and confidence in your writings in this blog, I too did not believe at first that you’re really afraid to speak on public.

    Public speaking has always been a problem to me before. But I think by knowing your speech very well, making some bullet points, and practicing it more often before the event comes, it will be a success.

    Current score: 0
  • http://deanhunt.com Dean Hunt

    I am flattered that you see me as ultra-confident…

    Those who know me personally will know that public speaking was an area I had SERIOUS problems with.

    I mean, real, shaking, feeling sick, going white… and that was just at the prospect of it.

    The great thing about writing, as opposed to speaking, is that if you say something wrong, you hit delete and correct it… if you have nothing to say, you simply wait until you do.

    These are not things you can do when speaking in public.

    Hence why it is much harder.

    Comp – best of luck sir.

    Current score: 0
  • Chris (Madrid)

    Hi Dean,

    Glad to see that you finally laid that ghost to rest.

    I thought your public speaking tips were dead on.

    As always if you´re back in Madrid, come and visit us at Standing Ovation, we´ll even find you a slot as a guest speaker!!

    Finally managed to convince Ben to be our guest speaker at the end of Feb. He applied at least half of your tips and was well received.

    Good luck with Buzz marketing
    Cheers Chris

    Current score: 0
  • http://deanhunt.com Dean Hunt

    Chris,

    I might try and visit this summer.

    Thanks again bro.

    Dean

    Current score: 0
  • http://BeUnderTheRadar.com Pamela Beeney

    Dean,
    I was @ Yanik’s UG5 in D.C. & you were great! Never let fear hold you back…Fear is just False Evidence Appearing Real. You Rock!

    Current score: 0