A few years ago, an accomplished business executive hired me to help him write a speech. His challenge was to engage the audience and make his comments memorable while appropriately conveying his company’s mission.
Tell Me a Story …
As we were considering options, I asked him to tell me a story about his family, career, success, failure, hobby or charitable pursuit. He paused, smiled, and said: “Of course, of course.” At the event, he shared a memorable, personal experience that was seamlessly connected to his work.
The antidote to the fear of public speaking is to tell stories, rather than to present or lecture. I often begin my programs by discussing my family because it makes me smile and puts me at ease. I also try to shake hands with attendees before I start, ask questions as often as possible, and leverage visual cues in my slides to stay on track and maintain momentum.