After my last workshop, I realised just how much I enjoy public speaking and how much my confidence has grown. I wanted to share what I have learnt over the years I have been speaking at events.
Before I get into the questions, I wanted to remind you that if you’re being asked to speak on a panel or at an event, if you’re being asked to host a workshop, you have been asked to do it because you deserve to be there and your voice deserves to be heard.
Public Speaking Q&A
What is the best way to start?
Whether it’s to build your confidence, it’s required for your course or it is just something you’re interested in getting into. I think the first thing you need to do is establish why you want to get into public speaking. This will help you understand where to look for opportunities.
Also, you never know who is watching you, so make it known that it is something you’re interested in doing. The majority of the opportunities I have been given, have been due to me putting it out there to the right people that it is something I am interested in.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself forward for certain opportunities, if a brand you follow runs monthly events and you have an idea for one you can run, pitch the idea to them. Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms are great for opportunities like this as well.
What can you do to make yourself memorable?
Think about what it was about the last person you heard speak, what was it about them that made them memorable? Is it something you can incorporate into what you’re going to do?
Give your audience something they can leave with, whether it’s advice, knowledge or something physical, give your audience something that will give them something to remember you by.
If you’re in a small group it’s easier to make the experience more personal. When I did my workshop I asked everyone if they wanted me to explain anything further or if they had any other questions. This gave the attendees the opportunity to speak directly to me and get any information they needed.
What did you focus on when speaking?
Making eye contact can make things awkward and in some cases, it can make you feel nervous. I find that it helps to make eye contact when I’m speaking, however, you don’t have to keep that eye contact going throughout the whole presentation/talk.
Find a focus point, it could the clock ahead of you, as long as you’re looking up and making the occasional eye contact, you will look professional and it will keep the people around you engaged.
Did you go to any classes beforehand?
I didn’t take any classes before, but I am thinking of taking a class in the future, it’s important to invest in your craft. I am a practical learner so I found that it was easier for me to throw myself into it and learn as I go. When you record yourself and do some test runs you know where you need to improve and what you did well.
How do you stop the nerves?
I don’t know if the nerves ever go away, I just know that I no longer see it as a negative thing. It’s a feeling that we get when we want to do well, we want to do our best. If you have to pause to take a deep breath or if you need to do a few breathing exercises before, do it. I have paused in between speaking before to steady my breathing.
The best way to help with nerves is to prepare yourself. If you go in feeling confident in what you know and you have practiced a few times, you will feel comfortable.
What do you do when you’re being questioned on the spot?
I’ve had someone ask me a question I wasn’t sure of before. I asked them a few questions for a bit more background information and that helped me answer the question to the best of my knowledge.
I would say during the preparation stage ask some friends/family to fire some questions at you and that will give you an idea of some of the questions you may be asked.
Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know, but you know of someone or a service that will have all the information to answer their question better. You’re not Google so you won’t have all the answers, however with preparation, research and a good understanding of the topic you will be able to answer any questions the best you can.
How do you go about planning the content for it?
I was given so much information prior to my workshop, I was able to plan the content for it with ease, because I already knew so much about my audience.
Ask about your audience; do they like to take things away with them? Do they want a quiz or some type of interactive activity? What are the key things your audience wants to know? Do they need the basics or do they have a little knowledge already? Ask about the numbers, the age range etc.
Establish how much time you will have and that will narrow down what you can and cannot do in that time. I made a presentation and a booklet with all the information from the presentation in it, allowing my attendees to make notes and leave with all the information they needed to know.
If there are any further questions you want to ask me, feel free to comment below or send me a message. If you’re interested in having speak at your next event you can email me: Saabirahlawrencexo@gmail.com