How much is appearing confident on stage worth to you?
Once upon a time, I was a young girl with zero public speaking experience. I went about life blissfully unaware of things like stage fright, the panic of forgetting what you were going to say in front of a bunch of people and the horror that is stepping off a stage realising you just bombed - but that’s because I’d never gotten on a stage.
Until one day, I did have to go through all the feelings I just described, and more, but since then I’ve also gone on to speak at Lord's Cricket Ground for People Like Us, at YMS London in front of a crowd of hundreds if not thousands, and I’ve even done a stand-up comedy class.
Every day, (except Sunday because I am Christian haha) I work on my public speaking skills in some way, whether it’s on TikTok, watching a Master Class, or actually giving a presentation.
Because of that, I feel confident when I walk on stage. I’ve learned what to say, what not to say, and how to say it.
Because of that I’m able to notice the mistakes I used to see myself make in other people.
Which finally brings us to three mistakes you might be making and three ways you can fix them.
Keep in mind these tips are for business public speaking. This matters because if you’re doing something like stand-up comedy, the rules are different because the goal is different. If you’re doing business public speaking, you want to appear like the trustworthy expert you are.
1. Saying “I didn’t prepare” or something similar on stage!
The fix: don’t lie and make up an answer if you don’t know something, but please don’t say this! Also, you probably know more than you think you do, so just give the best answer you can.
Tip: Try saying “That’s out of the niche of my expertise, but based on my knowledge this is a possible answer based on x I am sure about…”
2. Not providing steps/takeaways
You can be the coolest person in the world, but if people don’t feel like they can apply who you are and what you know onto their life when you are talking to them, they won’t write anything down, and they won’t remember you.
The fix: Make sure to have steps and lists. Alex Hormozi has great free online training on how to create good content that will be helpful for you constructing a good speech.
3. Not interacting with the audience
I once heard the saying “if they haven’t spoken, they aren’t listening” and it’s so true! How boring is it to just listen to someone go on for anything longer than 20 minutes?!? There’s a reason TED talks are short. We have short attention spans, and it’s nothing to do with what you have to say, but rather with how people are.
The fix: To engage the room, ask questions throughout your presentation. Use slido or a similar polling platform to enable interaction. Call on people, and in the first few minutes of your speech, encourage them to chat to the person next to them for a minute.
At the beginning of this blog, I asked how much appearing confident on stage is worth to you. Notice I said, 'appearing', but didn’t say ‘feeling’. This is because you will never be able to control how you feel when you go on stage, no one can. But I hope these tips help you so you know how you can act despite stage fright to your audience's delight.
Thanks for reading!
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