26 | SPeaKeR | December 2016
4Repeat, repeat, repeat. If you feel silly talking to an invisible audience, get over it. The same
holds true to hearing your
recorded voice. Cameras and
recorders are everywhere these
days. Use a phone or tablet or
even a mirror. Evaluate yourself.
I record and watch or listen to
every presentation to hone it and
make it better. You are your own
worst critic. If you can please you-self, strangers should be easy!
Kerri Pomarolli, NSA speaker and
humorist, adds, “You can’t skip the
process to getting good. Do the work! I
worked with a coach, and we pored over
my keynote word for word for months
before I ever delivered it. I labored over
every point and story and got feedback
from a select few who I respect.”
• Repeat it again. If something feels
awkward, work it out. Rethink the
content. Practice sequences in
• Check your pace. Just like pre-show
nerves, you can expect that you’ll
tend to speed up when the game is on.
• Schedule pauses. Purposefully
engage eye contact, a look around
the room and resume.
When you’re done practicing, practice some more. And then again. When
your content is programmed into your
DNA, and your focus is on your audience, you convey confidence.
5Fear is your friend. Say “hello” to fear, make your peace with it and nudge it aside. Fear is your
body’s way of communicating to you that
something is important and heightens
your awareness in that moment. Choose
not to dwell on your fear, and channel
the accompanying adrenaline into your
focus instead. It’s really that simple.
So what if you’re not successful the
first time you try to push the fear aside?
It will be back and you’ll have another
shot at nudging. You’ll get better at
compartmentalizing and pushing
through the fear with practice.
Lynn Rose, NSA speaker and singer,
adds, “Feeling fear or lack of confidence
does not mean that you are not meant to
speak, perform or entertain. If anything,
it may mean that you are the one to
deliver this message or perform this
piece because it means so much to you.
Learning to not shy away from fear, but
rather embrace it and harness it into
focus, will greatly strengthen the power
of how you show up.”
No one dies from public speaking.
Most of us have unexpected embarrass-
ments far worse than anything that will
happen while we speak. We survive
those. Perceiving fear in proportion to
consequences gives reason a chance to
succeed. Fear of speaking may still
occur, but its hold on you is less each
time you present. Last-minute stage
fright is just another in a series of
nudges. You’ve got this.
6Nothing ever goes exactly as planned. Being agile and adaptable
is the new normal. If all you
know about a topic is written
in your notes, you have noth-
ing left to work with when a
page slips off a podium, you
lose your place, or the teleprompter
moves too fast. You need to nail down
every bit of data you can.
Your brain is amazing. Cram it full
of stuff, reinforce it with repetition,
and then when you need one little bit
of that information under pressure, it
(sometimes) disappears. If that’s all
you know, you’re doomed. However,
if you’ve followed and read every
tenuous link connected with your
core topic, and I mean everything
out on the fringes as well as in the
mainstream, then one bit of forgotten
information won’t trip you up. Or when
the projector freezes up. Or when the
speaker before you runs over the allotted time and you have to shorten yours,
you’ll go in calm and confident.
This is your time to shine and
focus on your topic and audience.
Prepare yourself to be in the right
headspace before you step onto the
stage and deliver with confidence to
serve your client, your audience and
your business. Your event coordinator
and, ultimately, the audience will have
confidence in you as well—and that’s
great for business!
Elizabeth McCormick knows about building
confidence. She went from being the shy girl
in school to a U.S. Army Black Hawk Pilot,
then a high-level leader and international
negotiator in manufacturing before starting
to speak professionally in 2010. She averages 100 engagements a year, speaking to
national conventions, corporations and
associations. For more information, go to
Choose not to
dwell on your fear,
and channel the
adrenaline into your