Can you deliver a speech at TEDx?
Does speaking in front of an audience make you feel nervous?
It most likely will, but as with all talents, practice, practice and more practice, will make the difference, and yes, most of us belong to the 85% of the population who suffer from terrible stage fright.
To overcome our anxiety, we need to set targets, and you need to be able to measure it. Start speaking for a couple of minutes in front of a small audience and repeat this at least five times over a period of two months.
Be creative with your speeches, remember that your audience is giving you a precious gift, their valuable time, so, rehearse and rehearse again, use a powerful opening which captures your audience’s attention. Giving your sixth mini speech will be so different from your first speech, your anxiety has disappeared, you no longer are afraid of your public.
Now, let’s go to the next stage: What you really want is to speak to a large audience, you want to deliver a speech at a TEDx conference only eight months away with one thousand attendees, that’s you goal, clearly defined and measurable.
Try to attend larger meetings, at a local public speaking club like Toastmasters, or at a community center, or standing on top of a box in a park (remember Hyde Park Corner) to speak to an audience and hold their attention for ten minutes.
That needs preparation, holding onto your audience for ten minutes is not an easy task: a great opening and a conclusion, preferably a call to action, are an essential ingredient, so is vocal variety and your voice projection, and last but certainly not least, your eye contact with your audience. Again, deliver 5 speeches during two months, rehearse well, remember: practice, practice and more practice, will make the difference.
You have got another four months to go, and you no longer suffer from stage fright.
You are almost there, now it’s time to work on your speech, it structure, and the message you want your audience to take home. You will not be the only speaker at the TEDx conference, so you need to ask yourself, how will I stand out.
You want to motivate your audience, perhaps you want them to change their habits, but on top of all this, you want your speech to be remembered. To be remembered, tomorrow, in a week’s time, and now comes the hard bit: in a year’s time your TEDx speech needs to be remembered because your cause cannot be forgotten, and also because you have prepared yourself during eight months for these crucial 30 minutes in front of an audience of 1000 people, 1000 people eager to learn from your expertise, 1000 people who may change their lives thanks to your recommendations.
So, you have 1000 people listening to you for thirty minutes, that totals 500 hours or three weeks combined, and you better give your audience what they are waiting for, exceed their expectations if you can, and yes, you can do this because you have four months to write your speech, to rehearse it, over and over again, remember: practice, practice and more practice.
Now, you are almost ready, in the four months of speech writing and rehearsing, deliver your speech to different audiences, get their feedback and decide what feedback is useful for you and which is not.
Your goal is to deliver a speech which will be remembered in a year from now, so the more feedback you get, the better for you.
Speaking to a small group or a larger audience will not make a huge difference to you, from the stage, brightly lit up you will not be able to see much beyond the first three rows. You are all set, there will be 1000 people waiting for your speech, a great speech, an unforgettable speech, you will grab their attention the minute you step on the stage, you will remember that 85% of the population are scared to death to speak in front of an audience of such a massive size, so you are perfectly happy to feel a bit of anxiety, in fact it will keep your mind sharp, on the ball.
Your message is clear, there is a conclusion, yes a call to action, you will be speaking to their hearts, you will connect with the emotions of your audience. And you are able to keep holding their attention, for thirty long minutes which fly by at top speed, you are prepared for interruptions, a phone ringing, and you will be able to keep the pace, the connection to your audience, you will receive, at the end of your speech an applause, an unforgettable applause, because this applause is not only for your message, so well delivered, but for the fact that you are no longer part of the 85 % of the population that are afraid to speak in front of an audience, it is an applause that signals envy, envy for you now being part of the 15%, those who left their comfort zone, those brave enough to face an audience and triumph.