Did you know that Public Speech is one the most feared thing? It ranks higher than the fear of airplanes and snakes.
Some people are good at it and some people are not. Well... I suck at it. Sheer panic sets in. I sweat, I hyperventilate, I shake, I get hot flashes, I get chills. And this is all before the speech begins. Once I start, I forget things. I see all those eyes staring at me. I can have slides, notes, etc. But all is see is a blur. I fumble through it and after it is done, I feel drained. Like I just delivered a baby.
So I decided to take class to improve my skills. It was a great class. I had to give 3-4 speeches all together in 2 days. The first one, I prepared with a partner. I told him that I would blank out when I was speaking and he told me that he would give me a clue. I did blank out a couple of times. And he would say "Camera", "Joke", etc. I would remember and be on track again.
After the speech, the instructor gave me some pointers on handling the fear. He said, "If you lose your chain of thought, just tell the audience that you forgot what you were going to say. The audience will not care."
I got a little better after each speech.
The second day, I had to give a speech that I had prepared in the morning. He video taped it. I told the instructor to use the "thinning filter" because the camera always adds 10 pounds. He assured me he would.
I was still nervous but I made it OK. I cracked a couple of jokes. When I had a technical glitch, instead of panicking, I laughed and fixed it. Everyone laughed and loved the speech.
Then came the hard part. In a smaller group, we watched the video. I expected the worst. But much to my amazement, I looked totally in control. There were very little visible signs of nervousness. I totally faked it! I wasn't perfect. I should have smiled more or laughed more. I looked so serious. Even when I was cracking jokes.