Public Speaking: how to do it without wetting your pants

Most people have a mortal fear of speaking in public. Others are just show-offs. I probably fall somewhere in the middle.

With 21sts and weddings and 40ths…..most of us will have to give a speech at some stage. In today’s Group Therapy, it’s a dilemma about public speaking.

Lily* writes…..

“I am a recent Uni graduate and am going for a job interview next week. I’ve been given a brief and have to present to a panel of around 3-5 very important people for a maximum for 15 minutes. As a result I’m freaking out. I know it’s normal to be nervous about this considering I’ve studied for the last 4 years to get to this point and it’s not like I’ve never had to present before. I’ve had to do numerous presentations for Uni, however I’ve always struggled with public speaking (shaking knees and hands, forgetting to breathe and choking on my words etc.). Plus this time I’m trying to make a good impression and prove that I actually did learn something at Uni and that I’m the right one for the job.

I do have anxiety in some public/social situations – mainly to do with eating etc. but in the last few years it has crept into other situations, especially when the focus is on me. I’ve been seeing a psychologist and it’s been a wonderful help but I still can’t help but have a little freak out. I’d love it if you could post this up for group therapy in case anyone has some helpful tips (or if you have any helpful hints also) for public speaking.”

I once had to give a speech at Cosmo’s 25th birthday party. It was a sit-down dinner for 500 people and the person giving the speech right before me was James Packer. I was lucky enough to have a brilliant auto-cue (one of those ones that from the audience just looks like a piece of glass) and I thought it went OK.

Afterwards, I bumped into Kerri-Anne Kennerly in the bathrooms and she said to me “Great job, except that you need to stand properly. With one leg wrapped around the other, you looked like you needed to go to the toilet. Plant your feet hip-width apart, either side of the lectern and take command with your body as well as with your voice.”

She was totally right and I’ve never forgotten her advice.

If you have any tips, suggestions or stories about when you’ve seen it go really wrong or really right…’s over to you……