My Public Speaking Countdown

Public speaking can be brutal for some people. It can also be one of the most critical skills to drive you forward and sharpen how you share your experiences with others.

Some people use beta blockers, CBD, or anything else to help them get comfortable in front of a big crowd… I have my own two-part strategy that helps me be warm, comfortable, and energetic in front of a crowd.

PART ONE: PRACTICE.

This part is easy, and it pays off. The night before, and the morning of my presentation, I practice it for just myself. This is often done in a hotel room, standing and looking out the window. This just helps sharpen your recent memory. There are also some studies (though I am not a psychology, or even a TV psychologist) that suggest that memory construction right before sleep can be particularly effective for encoding facts into memory and keeping them ready for use.

PART TWO: COUNTDOWN.

About ten minutes before I begin… I start a countdown. This is just mentally walking myself from the worst possible outcome to the best possible outcome.

The worst thing that could happen? I get on stage, in front of the crowd, and instead of words coming out I just throw up. I remind myself that I’m in control of the situation of the situation and my material.

Next worst? I do it all, but it just sucks. I lose the audience three minutes in. Nobody’s watching me. I spend the following 27 minutes talking to myself in front of a crowd of people who don’t want to be there. Just reminding myself now to be engaging. Eye contact, activity, connecting with my audience.

PART THREE: MAKE SOME FRIENDS

Just one more quick thing. When you walk up, check out the area where you’ll be spending the next 45 minutes of your life. Right after that, introduce yourself to the people up front, as many as you can. Say hi, ask them how they’re doing and what they’re looking forward to, and laugh a little with them if you can. Be excited to see them. This puts your audience instantly on your side, a friendly face who they want to see succeed. You’ll keep their attention for the rest of the show