We know that standing up in front of your peers and sharing your ideas can be a nerve-wracking prospect. Over the years, some of us who work at Pickle Jar Communications have had to face our own fears when it comes to conference speaking.
Here are a few of things we’ve found that have helped us to overcome our nerves.
You control how you’re perceived
Sometimes you have to act as though you are confident even when you don’t feel it. Our Content Strategist, Rosie, is a big fan of approaching a situation with a positive, can-do attitude. It’s especially important for conference speaking – if you look like you have faith in yourself, your audience is more likely to as well.
Practice, practice, practice
Our Senior Content Strategist, Rachel, is the kind of person who likes to feel prepared in advance. She suggests running over your ideas several times before you get up to speak: while you’re walking to work, taking a shower or cooking dinner. It will help fix the flow of ideas in your mind and means there’s less chance of you forgetting that crucial point.
Ditch the script
Robert, our Head of Research, advises getting rid of your notes. That means so pieces of paper in front of you and no sneaking all of your notes into your PowerPoint slides either. If you’ve reached the point that you can speak confidently without a script, then you know your subject well enough that there’s less chance of freezing up or getting lost when you’re talking.
Be honest, you’re among friends
Our CEO and ContentEd founder, Tracy, says that it’s crucial to realise that the audience is on your side. People go into a session wanting to be inspired. They don’t go in there planning to trip a speaker up or pull them to pieces. That means it’s also ok to confess to not knowing something. If you don’t know the answer to a question, just say so. It makes you more human and more trustworthy. You can always ask if someone in the audience has any suggestions or if the person asking the question wants to share their own thoughts on possible answers.