Do you start to panic when you get up to speak in public? Do you feel judged by all those eyes staring at you? Do you wish you could be anywhere else except on that stage?
I used to feel like that too. I hated speaking in public. When I worked as an English teacher in business schools I would dread my first class. I’d actually feel my legs trembling as I stood there in front of a group of demanding students!
Here’s a tip that has really helped me to feel more comfortable:
Lock, Talk and Pause
This means creating positive eye contact with your audience by looking at them directly.
Most people think they’re looking at their audience but actually they’re looking all around, spraying them with their vision. Or they’re looking upwards for divine inspiration, or downwards reading their notes!
Not only does this create a disconnect with your audience but it also makes you imagine dozens or even hundreds of hostile eyes, just waiting for you to slip up and make a fool of yourself.
Whereas, in reality, your audience wants you to do well.
Here’s how the Lock, Talk, Pause method works:
- Lock eyes with one member of the audience, anywhere in the room
- Talk directly to that person for a few seconds
- Pause and then move on to another person, not too close but not too far away from the previous person
The advantage of this technique is that your audience feels involved in what you’re saying & you’re actually talking to 1 person at a time, rather than to a big mass of people.
Clients who I coached years ago in public speaking in English, still remember this technique and they tell me it has really helped them too.
Try it out during your next presentation and feel free to pass on this video to anyone else who needs to feel confident about speaking in public.
And please let me know how you get on.