Public Speaking 101

I couldn’t begin to tell you why, but I’ve never had a fear of public speaking. Insects, small confined spaces, and clowns. But never public speaking. It doesn’t make a lick of sense considering I’m a bit of an introvert (INTJ) and generally shy, unless I’m amongst friends.

This past week I had the unenviable task of returning from a trip to NYC and minutes later had to give a presentation on material that I had barely read. I say ‘unenviable’ but the truth is that I had a good time. I wasn’t nervous and all things being equal, I think it went extremely well – based on the feedback from the audience afterwards.

How did I do it?

I don’t have a clue…BUT perhaps I could venture a guess. Here’s my advice on public speaking:

1. Don’t give a fuck! You’ll forgive my French, but I want to be very clear on this point. Nothing bad is going to happen to you if you stumble, say err or ummm, forget what you were saying, or say something that is flat out wrong. You can’t die from embarrassment. More importantly, anyone sitting in judgement probably doesn’t have the nerve to speak in front of an audience. So don’t worry about what anyone else is thinking. Whether you close your talk to roaring applause or rotten tomatoes, you’ll still be alive in the morning.

2. If you say anything LOUD enough and with enough CONVICTION, people will believe you. Unless you’re saying Android is better than iOS. That’s just crazy talk.

3. Breathe.

4. See point number one again

5. Just have a conversation with a few strangers that just happen to all be seated in front of you. You don’t have to “present”.

6. Believe it or not, everyone is rooting for you and wants you to give a great talk. Except for me, I’m sitting in the back making snarky comments. But I’m a jerk so why do you care what I think?

7. Never give a talk titled “Android is better than iOS”. No one will listen to you.

For better and more practical advice on speaking, check out:

Good luck and happy speaking!