Public speaking is the #1 fear of adults, but why? Up until a few years ago I dreaded speaking in front of an audience myself. Most people aren’t born with the gift of public presentation and as an introvert it can cause a lot of anxiety just thinking about it. Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make better so every opportunity to get up in front of people and speak, you should take advantage of. Confidence builds over repetition, but the one technique that elevated my speaking ability literally overnight is called The Memory Palace.
Essentially it’s a visualization routine to help you memorize your speech. Think about it. If there’s one aspect that stands out about great speaker, it’s their ability to not use notes. I always believed speakers who could orate without referring to an outline were superhuman. But with this technique not only do you give your audience the illusion that you have a fantastic memory, but your body language exudes confidence that is memorable.
Not only has it helped me become a better speaker, but it also cuts down on prep time because you’re remembering stories associated with images rather than reciting words written down on paper. When speaking only you know if something was omitted. You can always play off the fact a point was forgotten because no one else knows what you intended to say. There are many ways to plot your talk, but here’s what works for me:
1) Storyboard your ideas on paper in 4 equal quadrants
2) Organize your thoughts so the story flows
3) Add visuals (screen images and/or props) to enhance your message
4) Rehearse at least 3 times before you present
5) Smile and have fun speaking!
The formula of 70% presentation and 30% content has worked for me. Once I jot down my ideas, I shift my focus towards what clearly communicates my point to the audience. Your message is directed towards the crowd, not you. Stop preaching and start sharing. Body language plays such a huge role in the absorption of a presentation, so smile, make eye contact and slow down. Public speaking is becoming a lost art with the rise of technology, so if you want to stand out professionally learn how to become a great speaker.
If you want to improve your speaking skills, here’s the video that transformed me!