Presenting preparation, female thinking

Presenting a Keynote Speech Can Be Overwhelming

Presenting on camera or public speaking at an event can fill you with dread.

When faced with presenting a webinar or speech a couple of things happen. Initially you are flattered, you have been asked to present for your company or invited to share a story. You feel validated, your self-esteem rises, you are nervously excited. Then fear starts to creep in as you realize you will be addressing the audience or speaking on camera.

Fear starts to crumble your self-belief; excitement is being replaced by self-doubt and your internal dialogue changes from I am excited and looking forward to this presenting to I am scared.

You start to question yourself as you worry that you will fail or make a fool of yourself. Slowly without realizing you have replaced the excitement with fear. Your mind is racing, and your inner thought process is filled with the idea of failure instead of the success.

I have had some pretty epic public speaking fails

One of my favorites failures was when I when I was presenting keynote speech to the board of directors for an important client, this one was face-to-face and pre pandemic.

I could see people were getting restless, they were here for a corporate team building day of fly fishing. I had a 20-minute presentation slot with a 5-minute Q&A. The subject matter was a little dry, I was telling a story explaining how the features of a product would solve a problem.

I could see I was losing the room

The audience had other things on their minds, I decided to show the goody bag they were getting for attending the talk, I pulled out the bendable ruler and hit myself on the nose.

There was a moment silence, one of my colleagues tried to step in to help and support me. As I felt the rush of blood and my face flushing red. I took a breath, smiled, made a joke, and moved on.

The board of directors loved it, they saw the human side and it bought everyone back in the room. We have all made a mistake when delivering a speech and it is how we deal with it that counts. Today people still remember me as the women who hit a ruler on her nose and my old company still work with this client.

The directors helped me to fly fish later (I caught nothing) and we still laugh about it? More importantly I survived. I did not panic when it happened, I made a joke and moved on. In the split second between falling into a heap on the floor and lamenting how embarrassed I was feeling, I chose to find the funny side.

Women Thinking
Here is a thought for you

What if you changed your thought process about presenting?

    • How about you think I can, and I will instead of I am afraid of presenting to the room or going on camera
    • Instead of feeling fear and worry, what if you leaned into and accept that feeling fearful and nervous is normal when it comes to presenting

Try this the next time you find yourself in this position:

    • Take deep breaths in and out whilst focusing on the words I can, and I will
    • Visualize the presentation being well received
    • Before you walk up to the podium or go think about something that makes you laugh or smile

“The beauty of the human mind is that any decision that is made can be unmade.” ~ Gay Hendricks

Expect things to go wrong

I always tell my clients to expect things to go wrong, the microphone could stop working, you could find the slides will not work with the projector, the list of things going wrong is endless and the presentation is always more memorable when things do go wrong.

If you are accepting that things could go wrong your mind is more adaptable and you’ll know, you will survive and thrive the next time you address an audience in person or virtually. This in turn we’ll help you to bend with what is thrown at you. Your mindset is open and ready to adapt when things do not go as planned.

Recently when going live with Episode 21 of The Wise Why, I waited in the Stream Yard studio for Brad Smith to arrive, when he logged in his voice was there, we had no video and the live was going to be streamed from Brad’s car on his mobile.

Brad’s wife had a puncture on the school run and Brad had to take over to get his child to school. My mind went racing… Brad is on the school run! OMG! It is 09:20, we go live on LinkedIn and YouTube at 09:30.

I had to breathe as the panic started to rise, then I thought about the fear and turned it into excitement, I decided what I would do.

By acting and deciding to face my fear I was able to succeed.

By deciding how I would fill the dead air space I took control of the situation the same way I did when I felt embarrassed in front of the board a few years ago. Instead of sinking into the fear I pulled on my I pulled on my brave pants, breathed, and planned.

I was thrown into the deep end without arm bands when I started to present live. My first live booking was working for Nintendo presenting day after day in shopping centers around searching for Britain’s Brainiest Family. I learned on my feet, I failed many times and every time I learned.

My experience helped me to know how to address a room, when to notice the energy was dropping and how to bring the audience back into the room when they had drifted off.

Whilst I was an actor it was still uncomfortable switching to presenting with no preparation or training. I will be forever grateful I have this experience to hand, and I can share it with my clients.

Public speaking and presenting virtually on camera are skills that can be learned.

If you want to know how to speak with confidence when presenting email kirsty@kvdb.co.uk

Public Speaking Coaching can be booked as part of my services.

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