Abe has spent weeks doing research and crafting a strong, well-prepared, researched presentation. On the day she gets in front of the finance team, she makes a few mistakes because of nerves. While she may view it as a complete failure, her audience will have gotten a lot of good information, and most likely written off her mistakes due to nerves (surely they would be nervous in the same situation!).
Abe’s colleague, Chris, on the other hand, does almost no preparation for his presentation, but, being charming and comfortable in front of a crowd, smiles a lot while providing virtually nothing of substance. The audience takeaway from Chris’s speech is, “I have no idea what he was talking about” and other feelings ranging from “He’s good in front of an audience” to “I don’t trust him.”
As you read this chapter, consider strategies that Abe might use to reduce her nervousness, and ways that Chris might be better prepared for his presentations.
Many surveys have shown that public speaking is at the top of the list of fears for most people — sometimes, more high on the list than death. No one is afraid of writing their speech or conducting the research: people generally only fear the delivery aspect of the speech, which, compared to the amount of time you will put into writing the speech (days, hopefully), will be the shortest part of the speech giving process (5-8 minutes, generally, for classroom speeches). The irony, of course, is that delivery, being the thing people fear the most, is simultaneously the aspect of public speaking that will require the least amount of time.
Watch this 15 minute TEDtalks video: Why People Fear Public Speaking with Dave Guin
- The Importance of Delivery
- Methods of Speech Delivery
- Preparing For Your Delivery
- Practicing Your Delivery
- What to do When Delivering Your Speech