As comedian Jerry Seinfeld says, the fear of public speaking is more common than the fear of death.
So when you go to a funeral, most people would prefer to be in the casket up the front than sitting in the congregation.
Imagine if the thought of giving a speech gave you a feeling of excitement rather than anxiety. That would be a dream come true for many people, but is it possible?
One way to boost your confidence for public speaking is to learn better public speaking skills. This is called the Competence/Confidence Loop and it's something you can apply to any area of your life.
You can hack almost any skill by breaking into this loop.
Not very competent at ice skating? Have the confidence to get out there and give it a try. Fall down, get back up again and have the confidence to try again and again.
Not very confident at public speaking? Improve your competence. Like anything, public speaking is a skill you can improve with coaching and practice.
One part of delivering a speech that gives people nightmares is remembering what to say. They cling to their notes like a drowning man grasping at a lifesaver.
Reading a script gets you through the ordeal of a speech, but it never makes for an engaging performance. You can't connect with people when you're not looking at them, and you can't move your body freely if you're holding notes or stuck behind a lectern.
Memorizing a speech word-for-word is only slightly better.
We've all seen someone deliver a speech they've memorized by heart. It's like a robot reciting each precise word with little warmth - it's not natural.
And if they blank on what to say next? Their confidence crumbles.
Think about the best speech you've ever seen.
Why was it fantastic?
It wasn't because the speaker remembered every single word. In fact, you have no idea if they did or not.
Chances are, it was fantastic because of a wonderful delivery that captured your attention, and was entertaining and informative.
How you deliver a speech is far more important than being word perfect - but like everything, there's a balance.
Here are my three simple steps for preparing your next awesome performance in front of an audience:
As I said, you'll get better at public speaking if you practice, get coaching and learn better skills.
One of the best places you can practice and improve is Toastmasters International. They're a worldwide organization focused on providing an incredibly supportive environment to learn and grow into an amazing public speaker.
If you’d like to learn how to picture and memorize abstract words (non-nouns), sign up for 'The 3 Essential Techniques'.
Leave a comment below and tell me about the best speech you've ever given :)