How to Master Public Speaking
Speaking at an Influencer Conference for the First Time
Back in June, I had the opportunity to speak at StyleCon's Summer Social in Orange County. While this wasn't my first time speaking at a conference, it was my first time speaking at an influencer conference. It was more nerve racking speaking amongst my peers in the influencer space then it had been in the corporate space discussing new products my employer was selling at any given time. Isn't it interesting how the things you're super passionate about, seem to make you even more nervous even though you may know the topic better? I've learned this through the last year, since I left corporate world and became a small business owner.
Practice Makes Better
I always disliked when people told me "practice makes perfect." There is no such thing as perfect, in anything. Nor do we need to strive for perfect. Life is beautiful in how imperfect it is. When it comes to public speaking, you're never going to say everything verbatim what you practiced a hundred times. And that is 150% okay. If you practice beforehand, and rehearse your thoughts and what you're going to say, it will be more natural and the flow will be a lot easier.
We're all Nervous
I don't think there's a single person who doesn't get nervous public speaking. Sure, some people do enjoy it and love being in front of an audience but even they get nervous. It's human nature to be nervous in front of so many people like that.
Have Some Personality
There's been speakers in the past (even some from Google!) that I've witnessed the most monotone session of my life. I think the most introverted person on earth could have done better than some of these individuals, so keep in mind you don't want to be monotone. I always exude my personality into the speaking. I ask questions and I say things like "you know what I mean" as if I'm chatting with a friend. This makes the audience more comfortable with you, and you more comfortable being in front of them.
Dress to Impress but be Comfortable
It is a no brainer to dress to impress because likely most of the audience doesn't know you or who you are. However, it's also important to be comfortable because you're going to be nervous and sweating so don't give yourself another problem with a shirt that reveals your bra, or something that's too tight. You need to focus on what you're saying, and not how you look. The appearance piece should be dealt with early in the day so you don't have to worry about your makeup, your outfit choice and anything beyond the speaking.
Know the Audience
I don't mean know them personally, but know the landscape in terms of the topic, the age groups, popular topics of discussion at the conference or event you're speaking at, etc. Basically be prepared depending on if you're speaking at a foodie convention filled with an older demographic, versus a young 18 year old crowd looking to go to college. Different audience, so different approach.
Water, water, water
This may seem like a no brainer, but every single time I've spoken on stage I have noticed my throat is super dry and at some point, I need a quick swig of water. It's important to have it close to you, but it's definitely something that is hard to remember in the moment.
I'm sure there's a few things I missed like actual attire and how to frame your speaking experience, but that's for another day. These are the general survival tips after my most recent public speaking experience at StyleCon.