Public speaking is a funny thing: no matter how many times I do it or how many people are in the room, I will always have a few butterflies in my stomach. A few weeks ago, I was asked to speak at an event held by the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) at my mom’s house, Grey Gardens, which is out here on Long Island.
My talk was supposed to be five minutes long and cover some of the highlights of the successful year we have had at Friends of Quinn. Easy enough, I thought. At the party though, my Adam’s apple was hot with suspense, and I hoped that by meeting some new people I would calm down. Even though we planned ahead and had cue cards ready like a teleprompter, I was still nervous.
When I finally stepped up to the “grinding stone” so to speak in front of everyone, I focused on the task at hand, grinding away my nerves and talking about all of the great work that Friends of Quinn is doing. Soon the nervous heat of my Adam's apple went away—I was able to feel calm and give my talk. As my Scottish ancestors would say, "the piper began to play and the sun came out."
I’ll leave you with some public speaking tips that have helped me be successful in the last several years:
1. Study your speech beforehand
2. Make sure you read it out loud a few times.
3. When you begin speaking, choose and concentrate on one person in the crowd if you are nervous.
4. Try not to think too much during your speech. Focus on the words you're saying.