My hands are sweaty, dry mouth, almost can’t swallow, I think I’m going to be sick. I feel light headed, I need to sit down. Then my name is called. I can’t do this. But I have glossophobia. I have to walk across the stage to the podium to give my speech?
Have you ever had this train of thought regarding speaking in public?
For many, the fear of public speaking is a big deal. Did you know that some people rank this fear on the same level of fear of dying?
From my personal experience, I once had a student give a presentation in my class several years ago.
And the moment she finished, she didn’t wait for questions; she ran out of the room and didn’t make it to the restroom. She threw up in the garbage can outside my classroom door. This really did happen!
The good news? Speaking skills are teachable.
According to Ted Anderson, the curator of TED talks, that is. Teaching speaking skills is called presentation literacy.
TED Talks has even done a book about it, titled, “The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking”.
In it, they state: “Done right, a talk can electrify a room… Done right, a talk is more powerful than anything in written form.”
This book is not just how to give a TED talk. It is for anyone with a message who wants to explain, support, inspire or persuade. As an entrepreneur, there isn’t a more important skill than presenting your ideas.
Here are Anderson’s general ideas on public speaking skills:
- Have a theme or what he calls the throughline. Everything must clearly connect to the throughline. Draw a line down the center of the page that represents your throughline. Then all of the topics and subtopics can come out of that line.
- Research your idea. Find the related issues and the controversies. But eventually narrow down to one powerful idea. You know your idea is good for a speech/talk if you can explain why this idea matters.
- Outline your talk using a worksheet that covers, topic 1 and key points, subtopic 2 and key points… All the while remind yourself of your throughline.
- Practice, practice, practice. Toastmasters’ International suggest not to memorize, but Anderson says if you memorize be sure you know it so well that you won’t find yourself lost if you forgot the ‘next sentence’. Learn it so it is second nature.
Read “The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking” here.
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