I am a self-taught public speaker with no formal training who has been talking to crowds for about 25 years now.
Often people who are trying to get better at speaking to a crowd want to eliminate all nerves and glide onto the stage ready to take the bull by the horns, this is incredibly unrealistic. I still get nervous before I speak, and that’s only natural. The key is just to be comfortable in your skin and embrace any feelings of uneasiness.
I think the hardest thing about public speaking for me is when it’s not about work. In business mode, pitching or presenting to potential clients or trying to get a message across, it’s a lot easier than presenting to friends and family.
In some ways, I’ve improved over the years by focusing on the craft of public speaking. I have honed in on the art of public speaking and the following pointers are what I believe to be true to successfully engage with your audience:
1) Know the message that you want to get across.
2) Embrace your true authentic personality.
3) Engage with the audience.
4) Think positively.
Dare to fail it’ll only improve your skills; believe me, I’ve had plenty of success and failures over my 25 years of public speaking. Another key pointer of mine? be memorable; otherwise, you’re wasting everyone’s time and you just blend in with everybody else.
In late 2021, I had an important meeting to re-obtain a big client’s business. I flew halfway around the world to Europe to attend. When face-to-face with the client, he stared me deep in the eyes and asked me in broken English “why didn’t you wear a tie? I’m really disappointed in you!” (he was dead serious by the way!)