Public Speaking Tips: Take Your Job Seriously, Not Yourself!

Public Speaking Tips: Take your job seriously, not yourself!

Public speaking tips are usually about getting things right. But what happens when it all goes horribly wrong? Lets face it – we all screw up from time to time. Sometimes we win by winning, sometimes by screwing up less than the competition.

When I was a tennis coach, Ian Barclay (who was Pat Cash’s coach) was coaching a group of us in Johannesburg. One of his standard pieces of advice was “Winning is easy – all you have to do is get the ball over the net one (just one) time more than the other guy.”

So what should you do when it does all go wrong?

Admit it, keep the mood of the audience with you, smile and enjoy the moment. Stay confident and calm and in control. You may even turn your imperfection, your humanity into a plus. Do not take yourself seriously!!! (Of course having a sense of humour helps!).

It is the people who take themselves seriously, or worse too seriously, who quickly become the butt of jokes. People love laughing at the pompous and the self important. Be likeable and be human. When the technology fails, or you forget what you are saying or your place in your speech – you will need all the friends you can get.

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“Peter’s immediate warmth puts you at your ease from the start. He sees the potential in just about everyone, and helps you to find new ways to communicate to any audience – small, large, no matter how challenging. He has an ability to shape the message to make it hit home first time, and he understands the importance of ‘short and to the point’! Peter is also an outstanding grassroots campaigner, quickly gets to grips with issues and thinks beyond the obvious. Finally, Peter tells you how it really is. Publicly loyal and discreet, in private he will offer advice that may not be what you want to hear, but may save you a far worse fate if ignored. He’s one to have on your team.”

David Gold