Routine: The Key to Effective Public Speaking?

Key to Effective Public SpeakingWhat to know a real secret about public speaking success? The real key to effective public speaking is to establish a comfortable routine. It’s a commonly-known fact that public speaking is a wider-held fear than death. Being afraid of public speaking is so common that it’s almost a cliché. But why? It’s not because people aren’t picturing the audience in their underwear. Most often, it’s because of a lack of preparation. The most beneficial kind of preparation isn’t rehearsing your speech over and over again in front of a mirror. (That can actually counter-productive.) In fact, the preparation that will give you the most value prior to speaking publicly can take less than ten minutes. It’s called mental preparation, and the key to being mentally prepared for public speaking is routine.

Mental Preparation is a Key to Effective Public Speaking

Why Routine is Beneficial

Many successful comedians, athletes, and actors have a go-to routine before they perform. Whether it’s wearing a pair of lucky socks or a certain verbal exercise, these people never forget to do the thing that will ensure their success.

Routine is just that – routine. After you establish one, it becomes comfortable and familiar, which help you gain the confidence you need to excel in your speaking gig.

Routine also helps us attempt to “control” the situation. One of the reasons people fear public speaking is that they feel out of control of themselves, their surroundings, and the audience’s reaction. Having a set of actions or exercises to do ahead of time is controllable and will help you get in the right mental state.

In a way, routine also makes you feel successful. Chances are, if you’re asked to speak publicly, you are somewhat successful in an area of your life. Routine helps you remember this, reinforcing your determination and stick-to-it-iveness. Your public speaking routine makes you feel disciplined, focused, and prepared.

Different Types of Public Speaking Routines

Every speaker prepares in his or her own way, and it’s important for you to find the routine that works specifically for you. However, the following are a few potential routines you can adopt into your life that will address common fears of public speaking and increase your confidence before your big speech.

  • Vocal exercises can be immensely beneficial for making sure your voice is in tip-top shape. Hum, sing in different pitches, and vocalize from your diaphragm to help warm up your speaking voice.
  • Put yourself in the audience’s shoes. Sit in different parts of the room to look from the different perspectives of how the spectators will see you, which will help put you at ease and ease you into the right mindset for addressing your audience.
  • Repeat your opening line a few times to make sure your phrasing, intonation, and pauses are correct. Once you feel confident in your opening statement, may confident about the rest of the speech as well.
  • It may sound cheesy, but as your audience begins to take their seats, mentally send them good vibes. Think good thoughts like “I’m glad you’re here” and “I hope you get something out of this speech.” This will reinforce an optimistic mentality, and makes sure that you’re thinking about the audience instead of yourself. Not thinking about their audience’s needs and perspectives is one of the biggest mistakes that public speakers make.
  • Raise your energy by doing something you love. It could be something as easy as eating a piece of chocolate, psyching yourself up with a motivational mantra, getting in some exercise that morning, or having a call with a supportive friend/colleague.

Mental preparation is a key to effective public speaking. It can have huge benefits for your public speaking confidence, and just adopting one simple ten-minute routine can be valuable for easing your fears. You may still have butterflies before your public speech, but by implementing a quick routine into your preparation, you (and your audience) will find that you’re more calm and confident before taking the stage.


Author: Doug Staneart, Date Published: 05/26/16

Doug Staneart is the CEO of The Leader's Institute. LLC and founder of the Fearless Presentations class. He is author of Fearless Presentations, Mastering Presentations, and 28 Ways to Influence People.

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