Have you ever had that overcoming feeling of anxiety, the sudden rush of adrenaline, shortness of breath, sudden onset of sweating? Then you may be remembering that scary moment in which you engaged in some form of public speaking. Well let me tell you that the fear is real.
After an engaging session with a well versed toastmaster of 22 years, Mrs Annette Roberts, with her helpful tips was able to show us how to “take the terror out of public speaking” and make those butterflies in the stomach fly in synchronization.
For me, public speaking is a daunting task, one that studies have shown, people were more afraid of then death itself. With my upcoming presentation in a couple of days I seeked support and was told feinting whilst I walk on to the stage was not the best idea.
Alternatively deep breaths, a well-structured speech with a compelling hook, and the usual experience and practice is the recipe. Don‘t forget to be weary of your vocal variety so that you‘re not yelling or talking to fast and that visual aids can be supportive if they don‘t take focus away from you.
How does this help however when you‘re put on the spot, don‘t know the answer or in those high pressure situation like an interview. Mrs Roberts gave some very insightful things to consider, such as answering the “who, want, where, when, how” and or the “past, present and future.”
One particular method of answering that stood out was her “Point, Reason, Example, Point”
method. It follows the structure of ensuring that you:
- first answer the question directly (either yes or no)
- give a reason as to why you feel this way,
- back it up with an example (personal is better)
- and then reiterate your decision (this is why I feel this way).
With a few unlucky people who were picked to try out this method, it was interesting to see the significant difference it made in allowing them to just concentrate on the answer, without rambling into tangents or being distracted by the crowd.
So instead of imagining people in their underwear (which in itself could be quite distracting), think of yourself walking out, the crowd smiling, listening and applauding, and that feeling that they are much better off due to your efforts to talk.