Even though you, me and most other people will never give a TED talk, the book TED Talks – The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson, the curator of TED, has been a New York Times bestseller. This is because the book offers advice usable by any public speaker to become a better public speaker. He tells us how to deal with the fear that can accompany public speaking. Use your fear as motivation. Let it energize you to practice your talk many times so that you get better prepared to give the talk. Avoid an empty stomach before the talk because an empty stomach can increase your anxiety. Eat some healthy food about an hour before you go on. Drink some water shortly before you go on in order to prevent the adrenaline rush from drying out you mouth. Before you go on stage, breathe deeply several times. Feel brave enough to show your vulnerability as you speak. Doing so typically generates support for you among the audience. Find some people in different parts of the audience who look friendly and move your gaze from one to another of them as you speak. Maybe even have some of your actual friends in the audience. Have a backup plan for something going wrong, for example, have notes or a script within reach. Focus on what you’re talking about. The people came to hear you tell them something worthwhile, not just to see you. Present what it is you are passionate about as a gift to the audience. Hopefully these suggestions will help a potential speaker lower their anxiety before and during the talk. However, this is only one chapter in the book.
The book starts at the beginning. It tells you how to prepare the foundation for your talk. It tells you to avoid giving a sales pitch, a ramble, a boring talk about your organization which no one outside of the organization will care about as well as a performance in which you try to emotionally manipulate the audience into feeling what you would like them to feel. There are genuine ways to connect with your audience, to explain difficult concepts, to persuade with the facts and to reveal something that will expand the worldview of the audience members. Slides- to use or not to use and what to do and not to do if you do use slides or other visuals in your talk. Anderson tells the reader how to create a big opening and closing. Almost as an extra element of the book, he mentions many inspiring TED talks themselves that can inspire us. Actually, the whole book will inspire its readers into giving better talks and tell them why this is so important for the future we’re about to live in.
If you would like more guidance on how to beat the anxiety which comes from public speaking, please contact Specialized Therapy Associates at (201)-488-6678 to make an appointment. You can also visit us online at Specialized Therapy.