Do you know what the absolute worst way to start a presentation when you're nervous is? In fact, probably more than half of inexperienced public speakers begin their speech this way. Watch the video below to find out more.
If you prefer audio only, you can listen to the full episode on my podcast below or on iTunes.
Here is what I often see when somebody really inexperienced comes onstage. They will look at the audience and say, "Oh please forgive me, I am so stressed.” "I'm so nervous. I really don't feel comfortable about this whole public speaking thing. I hope you understand and probably can relate.” "Oh, I'm just going to do my best, but please forgive me."
Really? First of all, let me tell you something. Your audience would never know if you are nervous unless you tell them. Everybody is to some extent nervous before they have to go onstage. Everybody has a little bit of butterflies in their stomach, regardless of how many times they've done it. Every single person.
Now what you have to understand is that your audience cannot tell that you are nervous unless you tell them. When you're onstage, most of the audience already sees you as an expert. Right? They don't see you as somebody who just walked out there and is all nervous. They see you as somebody who knows his or her stuff and that's why you are on that stage.
And I understand why they do that. They want to be relatable, they want to be humble, and they want to engage with their audience. But there are better ways to be relatable and engage with your audience than telling them in the first few seconds of your speech that you are nervous.
Your first few seconds onstage are so important. This is where you set up the whole presentation. This is where you can open in such a strong way, where you can make a statement that's going to completely shock your audience. Or a statement that's going to make them jump out of their seats with excitement. Or a statement that sets the stage for the rest of the speech. Or ask your audience a question that's going to really make them think. Or maybe make a joke that's really appropriate and sets the tone for the rest of your speech.
Whatever it is, your first few seconds are really, really meaningful and should be spent doing something that's extremely important, not something as trivial as, hi my name is this or that, and I am really nervous. Please forgive me.
I wish you lots of success! Take care.
You're just moments away from taking the first step towards becoming a confident, compelling, and captivating speaker!