What to do when your nervous about public speaking...

 

'I've not done this in nearly two years....I'm super nervous about speaking'  was the phrase shared with me at a charity event I attended, whereby several employees were giving an update to donors. 

I get it - Despite having spoken infront of audiences multiple times, it has been difficult for some to rebuild confidence after two years where events like this just didn't happen. 

I've always felt that nervousness is a strange emotion / reaction. We're nervous about things going wrong, stumbling our words, making a fool of ourselves, forgetting lines or being super boring to the audience. Yet, the cause of many of those concerns, is the nervousness itself.  

When we are nervous;

- We stop thinking properly ahead of the presentation and so perhaps causes something to go wrong. 

- We stumble over our words because our mind is focusing on the fear of an audience. 

- We might make a fool of ourselves by not watching our...

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The Structure Of A Comedy Set & The Applications For Public Speaking

Have you ever analysed a comedy set? 

Probably not. Unless you've pursued the art of comedy, there's no real reason to do so. 

It's far more satisfying to simply enjoy, what feels like an ad-libbed ramble of observations or a rolling set of one liners.

That said, you've probably sub consciously been impressed by the ability to refer back to earlier comments,

...you've probably laughed at the running gag that the comedian revisits throughout the show,

...and you've unknowingly appreciated the story being told as the comedian performs. 

Today, I want to explore three of these intentional structures and consider how you might use them in your next presentation.
 

 

The Call Back

You'll have observed Comedians refer back to a joke or comment they made earlier on in the show. If a joke gets a particularly big laugh, it's not uncommon for the Comedian to have other opportunities built into their set, referring back to that initial joke. Just as...

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Three Bad Habits When Public Speaking

People do strange things when standing infront of an audience. 

It's quite common and largely comes from how they are feeling in that moment. Perhaps they are nervous, feeling intimidated by the audience, or not completely sure of what they are doing. 

In this post, I'm going to outline three bad habits that creep into people's delivery when presenting. You'll likely resonate with at least one of them, either from your experience on stage, or as an audience member. 
 

The moving leg

I remember when I was in school, our production director was brilliant, creative and slightly intimidating as you'd expect from such a role. In my time at the school, I was fortunate to land a few lead roles, but this bad habit of a moving leg, was a big one for me. I'd constantly and unknowingly swing one leg or move around on the spot. It must have been so irritating to watch. 

In several rehearsals, I remember the director holding my feet to the stage...

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How Can I Bring More Of My Personality Into My Keynote Presentation

There's nothing worse than a keynote presentation being delivered with little or no sense of personality. It's hard to stay focused on the content, when the delivery is dry, scripted and lacks any enthusiasm. 

That said, no one delivers a keynote with the goal of being boring. No one wants an audience to feel disconnected and bored. So what's the cause of this apathetic style of presenting.

We'll come to that in just a moment. 

On the flip side though  - We feel drawn in by comedians because the premise of comedy is so entwined with who they are as a character, either as themselves or a stage persona. We are hooked from the moment they walk on stage to the moment they leave. Why? Because they have stage presence, because their characteristics are entertaining to observe as an audience. 

For many performers, their stage persona has gone through years of tweaking and refining. Some like to give their stage persona a name - I've known...

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What Can Public Speakers Learn From A Comedy Magician?

Over the years of being a professional Comedy Magician, I've had several people ask me for advice on presenting upfront. It's known as one of the UK's most feared activities. It causes many to be pushed right out of their comfort zone and weeks of stress in the lead up to the event.  

Whether it's entrepreneurs and business owners required to pitch their products and services, charity CEO's looking to communicate their message and impact, or church pastors who are expected to deliver a transformational sermon, week in, week out. The truth is, many of us have opportunities to speak to an audience, but many either resist it, or don't seek to improve the art of presenting upfront. 

Whilst I'm not a typical 'speaker', those who have asked me for advice, recognise that there are lots of transferrable skills from the arts. In fact, many professional corporate speakers look to Comedians and performing artists to develop their craft.

There's good reason for this - Any...

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