DO YOU HAVE A PUBLIC SPEAKING OPPORTUNITY ON THE HORIZON?
With COVID somewhat weakening (fingers crossed!), summits and conferences are starting to happen in person. If you are able to secure a speaking opportunity, how do you prepare for it? In this episode, I am breaking down my process for how I prep for a speech with confidence and hope it can help you do the same!
I recently went out to Arizona to speak at a leadership conference on the very last day, on a topic that I’ve become pretty accustomed to speaking on, which is vision. I’ve spoken in front of over 10,000 people and in rooms as small as 10 people, but this particular talk was the one I’d been dreaming about giving, industry leaders all in one place. Before I took the stage for one of the most elite audiences I’ve spoken in front of, I started to realize that I had a process I utilized to prepare for my speeches.
Today, I’m sharing what that actual process was. What did I do to write it and practice it, how often did I go through it, what did I do to physically prepare to be on stage, what did I do to emotionally and mentally prepare for this speech? I’m walking you through my personal strategy to deliver a speech with confidence.
IN THIS EPISODE, WE COVER:
[4:07] Crafting Your Speech
I like to start with the end in mind.
I want to know who the audience is that I’m speaking to and what they need from me. So, I start my research. If it’s a company or an organization, what do they represent? What are their core values? What are their people like? What do their people need to hear? I research both what they need and who they are, because when I take the stage, I want to be able to personalize what I’m delivering to the audience.
Then I can go into the outlining phase, figuring out what I’m actually going to put into this talk. And that starts my physical process of writing. I start with a notebook and a brain dump. I just put down all the ideas that start to come to mind about the topic that I’m going to be speaking on, nothing is off the table. I start to imagine and visualize the end result that I want to have. I also, always keep in mind who I am, what my personal message is and what I believe in.
Then I start to actually put it into some form of a talk and this is where I shift over to a computer. I take that brain dump, I put it into a Google Doc and I start to break it down into sections. While creating that outline, I think about the pace of my talk, the speed, the melody in my voice, changes in my tone.
After that, I take it from the written form and I create “practice” note cards to help me through the practice process. I always practice my speech in front of a mirror, because I want to practice the actual talk but I also want to practice the physicality of the speech, how my body moves during the speech. This is helping me in those moments when I really want to drive a point home or make someone feel something.
[16:54] Physical Prep
There’s also physical prep that goes into giving a really good, physical, energized, awesome speech that people are going to remember. Personally, I like to treat it like an athletic event because your body reacts to your nerves and your emotions, and when you take a stage and the lights are on you, you want to make sure that you’re physically prepared.
So, make sure that you’re getting your body ready. Don’t be afraid to go hard leading up to this, don’t limit yourself in what you are physically capable of because a speech is a physical thing. The month or so leading up to an important speech, I am eating so clean, I am buying organic. I’m not letting preservatives into my body, I am hydrating like a madwoman, I am doing endurance workouts, I’m building stamina.
[22:12] Mental Prep
Confidence is king in the land of public speaking.
One of the strategies that I like to teach people is to collect evidence. This is something I do after every talk and pull prior to every talk. I have evidence, literally a folder on my computer, with screenshots of things people have sent to me saying what a great job I did in a previous talk or how much a podcast episode inspired them to make some incredible change in their lives or how my mentorship helped them with XYZ. It’s just evidence that I am capable, evidence that I’ve figured it out before, evidence that I’ve made an impact and I’m going to do it again.
So, collect that evidence.
[25:14] The Day Before
Couple of quick tips for the day before:
- Low sodium
- No alcohol
- Avoid processed sugar and processed foods
- Drink water
- Get in a good workout
[27:38] The Day of The Speech
Let me tell you what my day looked like.
I wish I could say that I got a good night’s rest, but that would be a lie. I had nerves, like hella nerves and I was up at 2:50 AM. I don’t recommend that. But I still stayed in bed, I rested and kept the lights off. I got up early, and I did an intense cardio workout but keep in mind that my body had been preparing for this. I didn’t just show up the day of and decided to do an intense cardio workout that I had never done before. Then I took a cold shower and had my breakfast. I had a very nutrient-dense shake, because it’s important to get a lot of nutrients in the morning. Later in the morning, I had eggs and some veggies and then I just ate light and clean throughout the whole day – fruits, vegetables, things that don’t make me feel bloated or overly full. Then in the two hours leading up to my speech, I ate my last meal of the day.
That day I went through my talk twice: once early in the morning with no cards and then an hour before with my cards. Two hours prior to my speech, I did a 10 minute mini workout to get my nervous energy out and to get my blood pumping. After that, I stretched and during the stretch, I did my prayer and then my meditation and deep breathing.
As for my supplements, I take 1mg of melatonin and I also use GABA. Melatonin is an incredible supplement. It helps with your circadian rhythm and people think about it as a nighttime thing, which it is, but it’s also really good for anxiety. One milligram is not enough to make you sleepy, but it helps combat the negative side effects of a massive cortisol dump that you get when you’re stressed and it helps reduce your anxiety.
GABA is also another great supplement, something that your body also produces naturally to help create more of the happy hormone- serotonin. I take it for a couple of weeks leading up to my speech and on the day of.
Lastly, and you will not like this, no caffeine. Now, I know you don’t want to be detoxing from caffeine on the day of your speech but you do not want to be jittery, even if you’re dead tired. When you take that stage, adrenaline is gonna kick in. Trust me on this, you are not going to be dead tired anymore. You do not want adrenaline mixed with caffeine to get you through this talk.
Instead, lean on the practices that I’m talking about: stretching and getting some cardio in, eating really clean, hydrating, using supplements, prayer and meditation, deep breathing, a cold shower.
These are the things that I did leading up to my talk. Hopefully this helps you get ideas for things you can do to prepare because you have to come up with your own practice. And with us having the right preparation, we can really focus on our message and not our nerves.
If this speaks to you or if you know someone who would benefit from this, will you share the episode with them? I want people to feel so confident in their craft and I really think these tactics will serve anyone taking any kind of stage- any level of stage.
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