From Woe to Go – Dealing with Public Speaking

It is surprising how much people fear public speaking. Here’s a simple way to deal with this if the thought of public speaking scares you.

Think of public speaking as ‘conversation at large’. Draw on the confidence you feel when chatting with a friend or in a group and use this as the basis of developing your public speaking confidence. Do not be trapped into writing out a full script this will tie you to set words which must be read or memorised – a sure way to undermine confidence and lose contact with your audience.

Moving from ideas to words

  1. Decide the simply expressed message you want the audience to get?
  2. Try making a mind map or diagram to show the ideas connected to this message.
  3. Isolate 3 or 4 main groupings of these connected thoughts.
  4. Give a sub heading to each of these groupings.
  5. Talk over these ideas and groupings with a friend or colleague to hear how you express yourself. Find terms, vocabulary and phrases that suit your ideas. The more you talk about these ideas the better.
  6. Choose an opening to grab attention – this is really important. Do not fall back on ‘I am here today to talk to you about…’.
  7. Arrange a smooth connection and development of ideas that tell and complete the message.
  8. Bring it all to a satisfying ending. Again – do not fall back on ‘Thank you for listening to me.’ Give your audience a definite ending to set a clear thought in their minds.

Preparing to speak:

Use symbols to represent sections of your talk. Practise letting the symbols prompt what you want to say. This will free you from the tyranny of set words.

Take a sentence that is part of your talk and see how many ways you can rephrase it, keeping to the meaning.

Look forward to the speaking occasion recognising that you are feeling excited by the challenge and not nervous. You will be changing negative feelings to positive ones.

You have dealt with the woe and you are ready to go!

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07. January 2014 by Melda Townsley
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