So, Sherlock Holmes is agonising over his Best Man’s speech for Dr John Watson. For someone so supremely gifted and who is so used to grandstanding, who would have thought it……… Sherlock is terrified of public speaking!
It will probably not surprise you to know that he is in good company. Science provides us with evidence that public speaking is the scariest thing a human experiences. It makes your heart beat faster and your pulse races while you perspire profusely, and why is that?
We fear the UNKNOWN
We fear FORGETTING
We fear STRANGE REACTIONS
Is this a realistic mind-set?
Well yes, of course, because humans want to be liked and when you stand, exposed, in front of an audience of strangers, your greatest fear is that they won’t like you.
But hang on a minute, when were you last in an audience and hoping that the speaker would be rubbish? Never, I’m sure, because when a speaker appears relaxed and confident, the audience relaxes too.
So let’s take a look at Social Public Speaking.
If you want to be successful, remember to PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE.
When you are speaking about someone you know personally it is, of course, even more important than usual that you get it right.
Here are a few basic tips:
- RESEARCH – what is your role/purpose? How long should you speak? (Five minutes is a good length)
- ANECDOTES – Collect a few from parents, relatives, friends but don’t overdo these
- BALANCE – Between personal and general comments. Don’t leave your audience out.
- LIST – Make sure you include the thanks/toasts which are part of your brief.
- APPROPRIATE – Humour is useful but not if forced or offensive.
- THINK CONVERSATION – You will be most successful if you think of your speech as a conversation with a group of people.
- DELIVERY – Speak LOUDLY, CLEARLY and don’t RUSH. LOOK at your audience as much as possible.
Not all social speaking occasions are happy of course. Just before Christmas I gave advice to a client, who had to speak the eulogy for a friend’s funeral, on how to keep control of emotions. This was part of her feedback after the event last week:
“It was very emotional delivering the eulogy and I decided to have your words and picture on my phone and the family’s message on my iPad. I concentrated on my breathing and using my mouth to shape the words and only faltered twice. Thanks again for your support”.
So, what will Sherlock do? He has to reply for the bridesmaids, solve the case and stop a killer! Ah well, I’m sure he’ll manage.
Here’s to successful speaking in 2014
Speak Loud & Clear!