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Public Speaking : love it or hate it!?

Public Speaking love it or hate it

For some, public speaking is the scariest thing in the world. I feel that you either love it or hate it. The feeling and thoughts of when you walk towards that stage and microphone, either send shivers down your spine with fear or you get goosebumps with excitement. For me, there’s little grey area!

Over the years I have hosted talks for 30 up to 600 people. I couldn’t count my first experience of public speaking during a school play though yes it can support the foundations of speaking in front of a crowd. It was when I was at IMG, working in sales with Club Wembley and myself and the team were hosting a private evening and guess what – the speaker that night ‘got ill’. Who could take their place!? ‘We know! The 21 year old, who’s never done it before.’ I was thrown into the lion’s den and it actually went really well. 


Now, my experience in front of around 600 was rather scary. I was at Deliveroo, running the launch of alcohol and grocery deliveries and the Spar Retail group asked me to attend their conference with their regional team to discuss the opportunity of their branches joining Deliveroo. I remember it like it was yesterday – I opened the door to my designated room and there were 60 tables of 10, plus staff. My eyes just saw a sea of heads with a huge stage in the distance. I said to myself – ‘You either look like the biggest clown or you absolutely smash it. If I say so myself…I smashed it.

So how do you get confident, become a great performer and not get scared of what could be your greatest fear. 

  1. Throw yourself into the deep end! : however scared I was of that first IMG experience, it did me the world of good. Sometimes you’ve just got to go with it. It can bring out the best of you, when least expected.


  1. Create a winning mentality : The thought of looking rubbish in front of a crowd scares me. So to not go down that path I always remind myself – if you nail this, you’ll be applauded, congratulated, be greeted after with questions and curiosity and it could open up business opportunities. There’s no choice other than to put on a strong performance.


  1. Involve the audience : How often do you attend a talk where one just speaks to the crowd? Probably all the time. You’re just a revolving figure, going in and out of talks. How monotonous. I always make sure I ask questions and relate to day to day lives. Eg – when I opened up my talk at Spar I started by saying it was great practice for my wedding in 3 weeks (which was true!) and it just made me human and relatable. 

  1. Be funny, but don’t try too hard : smiling and laughing are life’s best feelings but we’re here to talk business (most likely) and we’re not trained comedians. You also don’t need to make jokes to be funny – it can be down to your delivery, as it’s not what you say but how you say it and your energy can entertain people.

  1. Make your preparation work for you : now, preparing for talks is quite the topic. I understand why people want to recite every slide and bit of content they wish to deliver but I’m the opposite. I’ll have a few glances at my slides in the build up during the week but I like to go with the flow. I feel it takes the pressure off of remembering what’s needed and allows me to engage more as I go, which can change depending on the levels of engagement. This to some is risky but like I say – do what works for you.

  1. Relax : What helps me relax is the lack of preparation and being spontaneous. I also find that because I’ll be speaking in front of people who I have never met before, they’ll have no expectations of me which really helps. Having something indulgent beforehand also works and just not over thinking it – it’s just a talk, people are here to listen to you because you’re in the know. You are in control.

  1. Keep talking! : Practice does make perfect so if you get the opportunity to talk in front of a crowd – do it! You’ll learn your own tricks and tactics about how to engage and prepare, which will only make you a better public speaker. 

  1. Watch and learn : We all watch or have listened to someone speak before. Really digest what you like and didn’t like about that talk and turn your feedback into positive actions. Ted Talks are a great source of research, to understand how to manage talks and to learn from different people and their deliveries. 

Conclusively, as long as you’re confident, enjoy what you’re talking about and can naturally engage with people, you can talk through anything!

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