My other half has been asked to speak in public, and not unsurprisingly, the thought of addressing a room full of people has filled him with dread, so I need to help him fight the fear!
He’s not addressing a huge group and he won’t be presenting from a podium, but nevertheless, it’s a nerve-wracking experience – and once you’re committed you can’t back out!
I reminded him of something the actor, Sir Patrick Stewart (one of his heroes) had said in an interview we’d watched, “as a nervous performer, you should remember the audience actually wants you to succeed, and wants you to be good.” So you’re halfway there already!
To help him further, I turned to the internet and asked my good friend Google to assist! Of course, being keen to be helpful, Google thoughtfully presented me with just the 678,000,000 results to trawl through! I thought again about who might need help with speaking in public, and more importantly, how to win over a crowd – and of course that was the answer! So how do comedians prepare to deliver their material to an audience?
After another quick chat with Google, I came across this little gem of a clip, which sums the subject up perfectly!
So just how do comedians prepare? Here’s a few pointers I’ve discovered from another comedy performer, Emma Stroud:
Say It Out Loud – it may feel awkward, and trust me, no-one hates the sound of their own voice more than me, but that’s exactly why you should practise speaking out loud. You’ll get used to the sound of your own voice, and learn where to naturally pause or emphasis words. With practise, it starts to feel normal.
Find Your Confidence Stance – and revert to this pose whenever you feel your confidence waning: place your feet hip-width apart, root your feet to the floor, open up your chest and lift up your head. I’ve seen Kelly Swingler demonstrate this, and it does work, as it gives the illusion of confidence and makes you feel more authoritative.
Be yourself – the most engaging speakers have one thing in common: authenticity. Anyone can reel off facts, bullet points or graphs, but audiences are made up of people, and people connect with stories. Fact. Your personal story will be an insight into who you are.
The 10-Minute Rule – it’s thought that the longest an audience can concentrate for is 18 minutes. However, you should try to recapture their attention before it dwindles – so aim for the 10-minute mark. At that point, do something different, ask questions, play a video etc. Or you could structure your speech into three sections, keeping each one under 10 minutes.
Belly breathing to control your voice – the key to speaking at a good pace (not too fast, and at a natural pitch – without that tell-tale ‘wobble’), is belly breathing. Google ‘belly-breathing’ and find a method that suits you – and of course, the secret is practise, practise, practise!
And a final message to my other half, you’ll be brilliant, and if you’re having a last-minute panic, simply return to that age-old tip – just imagine your audience naked!
We think Sue must be a ‘Master of the Dark Arts’, as she has hidden depths! Running our office with meticulous planning and capability, Sue is an avid list writer with a keen eye for detail. But don’t be fooled by that organised demeanour, for Sue is as creative as she is efficient! A skilled communicator with a humorous edge, Sue is as passionate about people and their learning and development as she is about becoming the future Mrs Tom Hardy or Mrs Benedict Cumberbatch (either will do!). An interesting career path has taken her from the glamour of working in luxury London hotels to the chilled Distribution Centres of supermarket retail, and whether managing small groups or large teams, people are at the heart of everything Sue does.