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27th June 2017

Words of wisdom for you on your big day (that make or break one)

Public Speaking Essentials

There are moments in any leader’s week, month or year where we know it’s critical that we’re on our top form. So often, those moments relate to us standing up and rallying others behind our vision. I had one of those moments a couple of weeks ago when I ran my first Daring Voices event – our new community for go-getting female leaders.

No matter how experienced I feel at public speaking, it’s always nerve-wracking and I always approach days like that with a mixture of excitement and tummy wobbles. All the more when there’s a lot riding on me saying the right things.

Will I remember what I wanted to say?
How will it go down?
How can I make sure they really get my message?
What if something really awful goes wrong, like my trousers splitting right up the middle just before I start speaking, or… what if a fire starts and wrecks the whole event? Or, or… what if my trousers catch on fire??!

These were all legitimate (!) doubts racking my brain as I travelled to the Groucho Club to set up.

I’m sure I’m not alone. So I wanted to share a few words of wisdom that I’ve learned to tell myself as I approach the Big Moment, to keep myself calm and focused. I hope they help you….

1. This is not about me:

It’s about the beautiful human beings in the room, in all their complexities. They have fears, they have desires, they have feelings.

2. It’s not just about them in the room:

I’m on a mission to create change in the world through my leadership. So whatever the message I’m putting across to this group of people, I keep my eye on the bigger goal. And I keep my heart on the people or systems who will benefit if I get over myself and give it some welly.

3. Nobody needs me to be perfect:

They don’t know my plan. They are not judging me like I’m judging me. If I screw up a bit, that’s actually the opportunity to be a human being – and people like human beings.

4. Where are my feet?

Ah, there they are, on the ground. Now let them land there. Solidly. I’m going to stand here and say what needs to be said, without wavering.

5. Where is my belly?

Ok, breathe into it. Cool it all down. Soothe my belly, my chest, my back deep, with deep, calm breaths that expand me upwards and outwards.

6. Keep an eye on the big picture:

I have a mission here that’s bigger and more important than whatever happens here.More breathing. Own it. Be the vision

7. Let them see you:

I choose to lead this. I choose for people to look at me, possibly to project on me and I’m big enough to handle that. I choose to let them see me as a human being. A choose to let them see me shine.

 I find that talking myself through some, or all of these things helps me to stay cool in the lead up to my big moments – and I’m pretty sure it helps me perform at my best as a result.

What are your words of wisdom that help get you in the zone?

Sarah Lloyd-Hughes

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