Writing a book and growing a business is an all round experience. Not only do you have to think about the work itself, but also about promoting it. Part of that promotion is speaking about my work to spread the word and reach as many people as I can.
On Saturday 28th May 2016, I spoke for the first time in front of an audience about my work. It was at an event called ‘Women Be‘ organised by my colleague and friend, Michelle Watson. The purpose of the event was to empower women and help them overcome challenges in their lives. I was on the bill with a number of other strong and inspiring women.
When my turn to be on stage came, I took a deep breath to calm my nerves and walked confidently to the stage, took the microphone and began my speech. I talked about my work and how I help parents and also gave my own story. I feel like I connected with the audience. At the end of my speech, I sat down to a warm round of applause.
This was my first experience of sharing my story and telling people about my work from the stage and the experience taught me about public speaking and how to be even better next time. I wanted to share some of my learnings and tips with you:
- Be prepared – no matter how large or small the audience is, you want to feel like you know your content before stepping on to the stage. Know your topic so that you always have something to say.
- Practice, practice, practice – I made sure I had my speech done a few days before I had to speak – this gave me time to practice in front of the mirror and to my family to ensure I came across confidently. The earlier you can prepare your speech, the better.
- Visualise success – it is normal to feel nervous before a presentation or speech and the nerves can be positive, but you cannot let them take over. For the days preceding the speech, imagine yourself in your mind speaking to the audience and it going really well. Imagine the audience is listening intently and appreciating what you are saying. Imagine you feeling confident giving the speech. This will help you to get in a positive mindset where you give the best speech you can.
- Relax and enjoy being on stage – Take a few deep breaths before going on stage and once you are in front of the audience, take a moment to look round at everyone and centre yourself before you start. Give eye contact to audience members, smile and have fun – the more you appear to be having the fun, the more the audience will reciprocate this.
- Celebrate & Evaluate – once the speech is over, congratulate yourself for speaking in front of an audience – a lot of people would be too scared and you have done it! Then take a few moments to assess your performance – what did you do well? What would you change next time? It is a good idea to ask someone to record you so you can watch yourself back and see where you can make tweaks to improve.
Hopefully these tips will help you if you are planning to give a speech soon too.
I look forward to speaking more often in the coming weeks and months to spread the Healing Feeling message.