Last Friday, I had the honor of speaking to one of the most elegant, attractive groups of the Pittsburgh A list. To say the least, I was in ego heaven. Not only did these wonderful ladies come out in droves to donate for a great cause (the Ladies Hospital Aid Society), but they were also more than gracious.
I always need to quiet myself from the panic I feel before going in front of a large audience to speak. At one time, public speaking was one of my biggest fears. I felt that my accent was too pronounced or that I would make a fool of myself. I remember feeling my blood pulsing, palms sweating, and shortness of breath among other fears. (These fears have lessened but are still there.)
Yet, like with everything, preparation and practice is the only way to improve one’s speaking skills. For all of you with similar public speaking fears, this is what I have learned:
- Try to meet your audience before the talk. I had the pleasure of spending some time with these ladies before my talk and I found them interesting, fun, and, most importantly, stunning (I’m always a pushover for great fashion).
- BE YOURSELF. Another aspect I noticed was that even though they were all dressed up and looking great they all appeared to be very real, so it was easy for me to be myself and connect with them.
- Most importantly, always concentrate on your audience and how you are affecting them, not yourself. Just as in your personal relationships, it’s always key to be conscious of how you are affecting others. I felt these ladies were a very engaged audience (even for the shocking parts).
I loved my time in Pittsburgh. In fact, I left hoping that I’d have the opportunity to spend more time with some of these remarkable ladies. Of course, even though I give many speeches and I love connecting with my audience, I sometimes still experience a level of discomfort in public speaking. Along with many things in my life, it’s still a work in progress.
Please tell me: Do you enjoy public speaking? What are your tips?