My Ignite Guelph talk and my advice to public speakers

Instead of making this more of a thought and feeling based reflection, I thought I would gear it more towards helping others who would like to try public speaking. Let me first state that I am absolutely not one to sign up willingly to do this kind of thing.  I've always been fairly shy - far more of an introvert.  This surprises some today, which encourages me to feel as though I'm finding a balance.

Part of the reason I signed up for this was obligatory.  I was nearly going to go with a friend to Nepal several months ago.  The time wasn't right for me, and I told myself that if I didn't join him in Nepal, I would definitely sign up to do an Ignite talk. The feeling of having done what I intended is immensely gratifying. Empowering.

The format of this was pretty intense.  5 minutes, no notes, 15 second timed slides.  Yikes.

Here's how it turned out.

So for those hoping to speak, or lead others, here is my short advice after having done this for the first time.

Don't speak to inform; speak to inspire new action or thought processes. No one knows who you are, and you likely haven't won their attention yet.  You have to prove you're worth listening to. 

Have your talk give something to the audience they can take home with them and communicate to others to enrich their lives.  Unique knowledge that few are aware of is key.  Also, in terms of building interest, be passionate.  If you haven't found your passion, or something that you sacrifice to keep in your life, find this first, then speak.  Also, realize that when you're up there, you can't see your words appear in your mind in the same way they did when you practiced on your own.  Whatever is stored in your subconscious bank is what you get, no time to process.

Also, I stalled at one point and know why now.  If you often have a interruption within the flow of your talk, meaning when you rehearse you often forget a certain spot, follow your intuition and change it.  Every paragraph should transition into the next smoothly.  If this is done effectively you can't forget because of the gentle relay of thoughts from one to another.  The bigger the leap the more you are risking a disconnection of thoughts.  

I should have listened to my gut and changed the connecting words.  No help that anyone could have provided would really be that remarkably altering.  Self-discipline mixed with passion and the right words will move people.  Edit and change your script often. Be critical, and realize that your writing may be different than the way you would speak. If you ever hesitate, or have a flow interruption, you should probably consider changing the script.

Speaking to others who also have or are doing talks might have helped. Learning from others who are going through the same process can be fairly uplifting.. or just get your butt in gear.

I hope this helps.  Good luck future thought leaders.  March forward into the arena of anxiety and bright lights with strength and vigor, it's not an easy path to tread.

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