2 Reasons You Shouldn’t Puke Before Your Next Public Speech

Public speaking isn’t for the faint of heart.

It’s one of those things that causes me to be a little nervous every time I do it. When I talk to people that have been speaking publicly for 20, 30, 40 years, they still often admit to having some nerves each time they step in front of other people.

Regardless of the size of the audience or what kind of message you’re bringing, here are 2 reasons I’ve found not to puke before your next public speech…

1. It gets better once you begin.
It never fails. For me at least, it’s always better once I begin. Once I see the crowd, see their faces, and maybe even see some faces that I know, I’m much better and much less nervous. If you have trouble beginning, try beginning with a personal story that you’re familiar with or maybe a joke you know will land. That will help you loosen up.. and the audience.

2. Most people are forgiving.
Most people will forgive you for a little nervousness or misplaced word. Most people know what it’s like to stand in front of colleagues or peers and deliver a speech… they know how nerve racking it can be. Most people are very forgiving. Don’t let that cause you to prepare less, but let it calm your nerves.

OK, for you more experienced than me at speaking…
What advice do you have?

16 Comments

  1. I don’t know if there is anything who does not have nerves once in a while when they stand before people. Even some of the most courageous people I know admitted to me that they have nerves, only that they try so hard not to let it show.

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  2. I often have to remind myself to speak from passion. I can get so caught up with “getting through the material,” that I realize I’m BORING everyone. But when I remember to speak from my heart with passion, things usually go much better.

    Hoping I remember to bring my passion with me to the Sticks conference breakout session I’m doing!

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  3. Can I suggest Number 3 as: It will end!
    Once your 5, 15 or 30 minutes are up it’s behind you. That one talk isn’t your whole life. It’s just a few minutes or half an hour and then it is over. Just focus on getting through that, ideally enjoying it and then you can spend the rest of your time relaxing and talking to people who are most likely genuinely interested in you if they’re still seeking you out after 20 minutes of hearing you talk.

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  4. I recall speaking in front of crowds only about 4 times in my life, and the most recent 3 have been in the past few weeks! I’m learning to speak slow, take my time, be myself and remember those are just my friends out there. Last Sunday, Pastor asked me to do the welcome and announcements (for only my 2nd time). Later I was told those were the best announcement they ever heard. I was “myself”…I used humor and heard laughter, got a round of applause and even got a rim shot from the drummer! It fueled my excitement for speaking to a group of women about health last night. I’m kind of starting to enjoy this public speaking thing. And if I’m not careful, I’ll be the regular announcement giver on Sundays!

    PS: No puking was involved!

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  5. I need to remember this next May. I offered to be the speaker at a Ladies’ Retreat. I know that the closer it gets, the more nervous I’ll be. I grew up painfully shy, so this is a huge step out of my comfort zone. I usually teach a dozen women, but this will be about 80. I think because I know 90% of them, I will feel like I’m among friends. Also, if you are comfortable with your material it helps a lot. I think after about 10 minutes of shaking, I should be in my zone. My husband speaks publicly all the time and he still has nerves. I think it shows respect for your audience, because you want to do a good job.

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    1. I think you’re definitely on to something with the respect for audience. When we want to do well at something, it’s natural to be a little nervous. Good luck with your teaching in May!

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  6. You’re so right, Jonathan. I think it’s perfectly normal to have a few butterflies in your stomach – that keeps me grounded when I speak. Being too confident can come off as appearing disengaged. Getting honest feedback on my content prior to speaking helps me craft messages that will be of greater benefit, and that means I know the message is helpful and important during those first moments of fear.

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  7. Haha, I thought I’d find something like “You’re going to scratch your throat and harm your speaker’s voice.” lol, silly me.

    This is very true though. Unless you’re a great speaker or delivering a message especially close to your listeners, it’s a good chance that most people don’t remember speakers who are just starting out anyway. That may seem mean, but it’s a good thing because most of us WILL screw up a few times when learning to present professionally.

    Thank God for small favors!

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  8. Everyone will surely relate to this blog. Not all people are born to be good in public speaking. Some are intelligent enough, but maybe not confident enough that is why public speaking doesn’t became their thing. I totally agree that it gets better once you begin. This is because you get used to the faces of people you’re seeing and you begin to enjoy what you are doing. Beginning with a personal story is really a good advice. It will catch the attention of your audience and you can use that story as a basis on your explanations as you go through your speech. And yes, people are forgiving simply because they know and have experienced how hard it is to stand in front of many people. Another good advice is to not memorize your speech. Just provide yourself a list of topics and its subtopics, and then the details will just come out of your mouth naturally (if you know well what you’re talking about). visit @ http://www.slideworld.com/

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