July 30, 2010
Think you’re unprepared for a speech? Feeling queasy and shaky right before starting your talk? You probably think the best next step is to let your audience know that this may not be a good talk and that you’re unprepared, because we all like having realistic expectations right? WRONG.
Starting your speech with a disclaimer is probably the worst thing you can do. Your audience will immediately check out and at that point, you’ve lost them altogether… in the first 10 seconds! Yes, being completely prepared and confident before every speech is near impossible. Thus, the solution is not “just be more prepared” (although that would help) because inevitably you will always feel less confident and ready than you probably are. The solution: act confident no matter how confident you may actually be. No, this isn’t dishonesty, because the likelihood is that you’re being dishonest with yourself about how well your talk will go. You will naturally jump to conclusions that people will hate your content, think you’re stupid, and are probably going to laugh at the abomination of a speech you’re about to give; but don’t worry, everyone feels that way.
Not only is making disclaimers taboo, but apologizing is as well. Stutter on your second point? Forget a few lines of your speech? Don’t apologize, just move on. The more you consider apologizing and giving excuses, the more you’re thinking about how poorly your speech may be coming off to your audience. As soon as you let that thought process in, you’re on a sure path to destruction. No matter what goes wrong, just pick up the pieces and move on.
It’s simple. Act confident and you will become more confident with every speech.