Archive for Presenting with Full Wattage

Public Speaking NervesHave you ever been required to give a presentation and it reduced you to a pile of nerves? We generally associate being nervous with novices. But did you know that even successful professional speakers still get nervous? They have just learned to manage their nerves.

It’s natural to feel nervous – it’s been ingrained in us from thousands of years of evolution where human beings needed to be accepted by their social groups in order to survive. If you were not accepted, often for being different in some way, you were cast out and left to defend for yourself. Inevitably that meant death.

So it’s no wonder that we get nervous when we have to stand in front of a roomful of people, and do something that many of us feel vulnerable doing  – speak!

So here are 9 tips for healthcare professionals to help alleviate the public speaking jitters:

  1. Remember first and foremost that the audience wants you to be great, not terrible. They want you to succeed. You are doing something most of them would rather not do, and for that alone you will have their respect. So remind yourself that they are rooting for you!
  2. Be mindful of negative self-talk. This actually ties into the first tip. We are often our own worst enemy, and talk down to ourselves without even being consciously aware of how much we do that. With awareness comes liberation!
  3. Be prepared. Practice with friends or colleagues before you give a talk for the first time. Especially practice your timing. The biggest mistake clients make when they come to me for presentation coaching is that they have way too much material for the time allotted. Added to which, we do tend to take more time in front of a live audience than when we are practicing by ourselves at home. So do be mindful of your timing. You also want to practice if you are using any technology. If part of your talk involves a slide presentation, showing a video, playing music etc, make sure you know in advance how everything works.
  4. Utilize the power of visualization to your advantage. We tend to worry about all the bad things that might happen (like forgetting what we want to say, looking stupid, having technology problems etc). It’s easy to get stuck focusing on what we don’t want, but remember, whatever you focus on you get more of. So see yourself in your mind’s eye giving a stellar presentation and getting a standing ovation! Don’t underestimate how powerful that can be.
  5. On the day of your presentation get to the room early. Make sure it is set up the way that you want. Become familiar with the space. Do a final check to make sure your microphone and all your audio and visual equipment works.
  6. Meet and greet folks as they come in. This is so important when it comes to reducing the jitters. First, it takes your mind off being nervous. Second, once you have made a connection with attendees you will be speaking to a roomful of folks that you have some familiarity with (at least a bit) rather than a room filled with complete strangers. That helps a lot.
  7. Know the opening of your talk cold. You are most nervous and the audience is most skeptical at the beginning of your talk. You will be more confident if you know what your very first words will be, and you don’t have to think about them.
  8. When it comes time for your presentation, walk confidently to the center of the room or stage (or to the lectern or podium if you are using one). Before you open your mouth stand with your feet firmly planted, scan the room (look for friendly faces) and breathe. Then look at the friendliest face and direct your opening words to them.
  9. Never speak as if you were speaking to a group of people. Always speak to one person, then another, then another. This creates a sense of connection and intimacy.

So there are 9 tips to consider the next time you have to give a talk. Here is one more – don’t forget to smile… and have fun!

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So You Think You Can Speak?

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I am thrilled and very honored to be representing the D.C. Chapter of the National Speakers Association in a National contest called So You Think You Can Speak?

Here (below) is the official press release as well as my winning video. I’ll keep you posted as to the results. Keep your fingers crossed for me 🙂


It’s been said that most people would rather die than give a speech, but not local motivational speaker Liz Fletcher Brown. Ms Fletcher Brown was recently nominated the Rising Star of the D.C. Area Chapter of the National Speakers Association, and now competes for the National title.

For the first time ever, the National Speakers Association, which is the leading association for those who speak professionally, is conducting a contest called So You Think You Can Speak. The winner will have the honor of being awarded the title NSA Rising Star 2011.

Having won the contest on the local level, Ms Fletcher Brown now competes with other speakers from across the country for one of six spots in the finals, to take place at the association’s annual convention in Anaheim, CA in July 30 – August 2nd 2011.

Ms Fletcher Brown is a “thought leader” in the field of personal transformation. She specializes in high energy, motivational, thought-provoking and content rich keynotes and workshops that help participants have the right attitude for success, even in challenging times.

She brings to all of her work an infectious enthusiasm and a unique combination of dance as a dramatic teaching metaphor, engaging stories and practical ideas to enhance attendees working and personal lives.

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What Session Attendees Have Said:

“Easy, understandable tools and ideas that I can use immediately.”
“Liz is as great as her material.”
“She gave me the steps to solve a problem, I struggle with.”
“The information was presented in a simple and concise manner, but also in a way that was entertaining and fun.”
“Fun, quick paced, uplifting.”
“Specific, doable steps.”
“She is fabulous!”
“I love Liz’s attitude, personality and sense of humor.”