I have just finished writing a new keynote. And I said in an offhand comment to my assistant that I really should practice it in front of a live audience.
And before I could say "Look, I’m not really serious about that", my energiser bunny, over zealous and soon to be fired EA had organised 30 people at her place for drinks, nibblies and ta da! – me.
I need to mention at this point that although I am a conference speaker – a paid one, I am not the rock star type. I was dragged kicking and screaming to the big stage from the training room by my rock star speaker friends who accused me of all sorts of inadequacies. And not liking that, and always feeling the need to accept a challenge, conference speaker was added to my income stream.
I have learned to turn what was a bowel churning fear into energy. After all, it’s the same drug, adrenaline, that courses through our veins to create both fear and excitement. Master speaker and corporate ninja Ron Lee offered to show me how to get over my fear more than 10 years ago. And I ran the other way.
But that’s another story. These days I do a lot of speaker coaching – helping execs and others to write and deliver a presentation. And I always recommend that they do a practice run in front of a live audience first. And it always sounded like a good idea...for them.
Ok –it is a great idea. Apart from the fact we served wine, here's all the reasons to do it.
I got to see what works for me. What’s funny, what’s not. Best reactions. No reactions.
You can check timing - critically important!
I really got to practice. And I don’t care how much you practice in your head it’s not the same as doing it out loud, and in front of an audience. You get someone to film it and you can see emphasis, pausing, volume and measure pace and energy.
Most of all you get the wonderful gift of constructive feedback from others’ perspective, sometimes on things you hadn’t noticed or thought of yourself.
But if you want to take your public speaking seriously? Invaluable.
Lynne Schinella is a conference speaker, speaker coach, and author of Bite Me! and other do's and don'ts of dealing with our differences.
To see Lynne speaking live click here.
For more information on what Lynne does, click here.
And if you're ready to take on the world, see more information on her speaker retreats for executive women here.
Follow her on social @lynneschinella