1. For many speakers—and especially for introverts—preparation is key.
Are they craving new information? Insights? What problem do they hope to solve? Give them what they want and need.
3. If you haven’t spoken publicly in a while and feel rusty, watch videos of speakers that have shots taken from the speaker’s vantage point, where you can see what it’s like to face the audience.
If you have a great sense of humor, use it. If you’re not a natural cut-up, don’t try to be. Instead, focus on what you do best. Do you have a great story to tell? An interesting idea your audience hasn’t considered? Information they need to hear? Frame your speech around your message —and around who you are as a person. Thoughtful and thought-provoking is every bit as powerful as dynamic and entertaining.
8. At the same time, public speaking is a performance, and that’s a good thing, even if you’re not a natural actor.
Have you ever wondered why people enjoy costume parties? It’s because they feel liberated when interacting from behind a mask, from within a role. Dressing up as Cinderella or Don Draper removes inhibitions as effectively as a glass of wine. Think of your onstage persona the same way.
9. Smile at your audience as they enter the room, and smile at them when you begin speaking.
This will make you feel relaxed, confident, and connected.
10. Here is a funny tip from a reader of the Happiness Project. It’s probably not the best advice, but it will make you laugh:
“My eighth grade teacher told us all to pretend the people [in the audience] are heads of cabbages. I never quite got that one as making much sense, but to this day (40 years later) I still say that line to myself before I speak. And I laugh.”