On this, the spookiest day of the year, Halloween, what better leadership topic to tackle for our Leadership Greater Hartford community, than a topic that brings horror to an estimated 75% of the population? The topic in question is public speaking.
We reached out to some LGH Staff and Workshops Facilitators on how they face standing in front of any audience and offer you some strategies before your next big presentation.
Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make it easier:
Quest and Leaders on Board Program Director, Mae Maloney offers: “I was absolutely one of those kids who stayed home from school “sick” when it was time to give an oral presentation in class. The primary lesson I have learned is that public speaking only gets easier after lots and lots of practice. I never believed this could be true. Why would I ever want to practice something I hated?! But, over the years, and after lots of opportunities to practice, make mistakes, try again, feel uncomfortable, stumble over my words…I can say that I actually ENJOY speaking in front of an audience!”
Tell A Story and Have Fun:
Karen Senteio, LGH Summit Director and Consulting and Training Director, keeps her eyes on the big picture, offering “I focus on telling a story with pictures and not to have text intensive slides. I also let go of trying to be perfect, have fun, and adjust to anything that does not go as planned instead of ruminating over it.”
Eye Contact? Maybe not.
Program Coordinator, Destiny Davis shared, “When I present, I don’t look at the audience directly in their eyes. I always look at their eyebrows or forehead. It is a lot less distracting! I also remind myself to project my voice, nothing worse than someone in the back of the room yelling: “We can’t hear you!”
Imagine your hero.
Vice President of Marketing and Development, Kara Fenn, offers “In addition to over preparing and feeling comfortable with the content, for speaking opportunities, I always bring to mind an episode of Parks and Rec when the main character, Leslie Knope, delivers a flawless speech when she is sick with the flu. It immediately makes me laugh and takes some of the seriousness away from the situation.”