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lost your voice?

Last week, I wrote about purpose and personality making a compelling, inspiring message (Missed it? No worries – it’s here) and I’ve worked with some great people, who on paper have the content cracked and can blow you away with their passion for the topic. Yet when it comes to being in front of a sea of faces or that key decision maker, something gobbles up their confidence and they fail to convey their message.

I know I’ve done it – my first presentation at London Business School in front of my stakeholders and my wider team and I REALLY wanted to impress. I was all clued up on my purpose, my notes printed out and was all set. But when I started I heard this wobbly voice and someone gasping for air. ECK! That’s not me nor what I’m known for – I am an engaging, energising speaker.

I took a deep breath and announced my purpose – pause – more air and I set out my stall of great, pragmatic content including why I believed in it. I asked the audience if they’d find it valuable. I watched a few heads nod and heard a few mumble “yes”.

How was I able to do this? I had socialised my summary (aka my introduction) with a number of people – firstly, to check relevancy and style and secondly, to rehearse saying it out loud without the pressure of the moment. Once the former was cracked, the latter gave me chance to build muscle memory in my brain and tongue – the same as a sprinter will break down each part of their race into components and repeat each piece numerous times, great speakers breakdown their message and repeat it.  Each repetition builds a stronger memory in the brain and the operating muscle group (legs for an explosive start or the mouth and mouth for a speaker).

Having delivered to conference halls of 4,000+ and senior management, I have a wealth of experience, techniques and tools to share on public speaking. I can also draw upon my studies of anatomy and physiology to manage your energy and nerves to increase your success.You may have heard the mantra of “rehearse, rehearse, rehearse” and been recommended to deliver to a mirror or video camera, which can be really powerful and really unnatural.

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Try my mini rehearsal technique – say it and say it often. Discuss your message and purpose with others and you’ll build a fluidity and familiarity, which will help you deliver with confidence and passion. Plus you gain support, encouragement and more energy for your message along the way. For the Win!!

What’s your favourite way to prepare ahead of your big moment? Share them in the comments please!

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