Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face…You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
1. Battle your fear of public speaking by being thoroughly prepared. Know your material and trust your ability to communicate it to the audience. In addition, take the time to practice and get feedback on the presentation. As Aristotle once said: ” Excellence is not an act but a habit. We are what we repeatedly do”. You have a captive audience so take advantage and deliver a powerful and meaningful speech.
2. Act Natural and be authentic. Leave audience wanting more and with a positive impression of your flexibility, openness and responsiveness to their concerns and needs. Remember the audience is on your side they want you to succeed.
3. Present things aligned with who you are what you do well; don’t try to fake it or “make stuff up” MSU’s are out.
4. Don’t gesture for the sake of gesturing. There must be a reason for your gestures and they need to connect to what you are saying.
5. Show the audience a person who is relaxed and confident in conversations. Bring that same confident style to the public stage as you do in private conversations. Start with high energy, get to the point, be responsive to questions and close with enthusiasm and a “call to action” .
6. Bring relevance, assurance, tangibility, empathy and responsiveness to the presentation. Use the R.A.T.E.R. as a design framework and as an evaluation metric of how the presentation was received by the audience.
As a speaker and communicator, you are the one who is shooting the “free throw to win” the game. You must “stick it” to win. You must have the right mindset, relaxed muscles and arc to make the shot. Every single day, you are delivering messages and trying to make ideas stick and persuade others to change or behave in a certain way. So how do you connect with and make messages stick? Trying using the R.A.T.E.R.
- RESPONSIVE–challenge your audience with something new or ideas they can use. Be responsive to their interest and needs. Answer questions as they are asked. Do not put people off by saying, ” I will answer it later”. Be “quick on your feet” and adapt to audience interest and needs. If you are not sure you are meeting their expectations ask them. For example, how are we doing here? Is this information meeting your expectations? If not change directions. Don’t ignore the disinterested looks or signs of boredom.
- ASSURANCE- provide credible information and examples of idea or solution benefits and how it has worked in the past. Use powerful examples and stories to assure audience that your message has importance to their situation the ideas being presented are credible.
- TANGIBLES-–bring concrete ideas and provide pragmatic examples or metaphors that make the ideas less abstract. Avoid generalizations and professional jargon. Make message clear, concise and concrete. This is the spot to provide demonstrations or if possible physical prototypes, so audience members can see and touch what you are talking about.
- EMPATHY-Show the audience that you care and understand their problems, skepticism, views and ideas. Obviously, presenting facts and evidence in your speech are important, but connecting with the audience requires both empathy and an emotional message.
- RELEVANT information needs to be presented along with pragmatic audience-centered solutions and ideas that raise the audience members curiosity and interest in what you have to say. In addition, try to sprinkle your speech with supportive evidence and stories showing the benefits, viability and urgency of your ideas so that attitudes can be changed and action initiated to improve their quality of life.