Do you need inspiration for your Public Speaking? Read our interview with Dee Blick for some great ideas to help you enjoy Public Speaking more.
How do you do public speaking?
In many different ways; from a 10 minute informal talk at a networking event to a seminar or exhibition all the way to running a 60 minute master-class. I am also a paid speaker at business conferences. My goal in the early days was to move from being a terrified wanting-to-run-away-and-go-home-to-my-mum -speaker to being a you’ve-got-it-all-together-speaker able to command a decent fee more as a measure of achievement than the money if truth be told.
How do you prepare after getting the request? What questions do you ask?
A request doesn’t come out of the blue but usually after a dialogue where the person representing the event wants to see if I meet their needs. We talk about the event, the attendees, whether there are other guest speakers. I appraise it as a marketer standing in the shoes of my target audience. I am quite firm on the content. I’ll ask questions about the venue, how long I am speaking for, whether it’s a formal or informal occasion and whether audience involvement is appropriate. I won’t accept the commission unless I am totally comfortable with the event and the brand. Preparation is easier now given I’ve been speaking for many years. It comes down to mapping out the headlines and using the clock in my head so I don’t run over.
How do you feel just before you speak? During and After? How does your body react?
How I feel varies and depends on my mood and the venue. Whether I’m being paid or not is irrelevant. The pressure is the same regardless. Sometimes I feel terrified, my heart will pound and I’m thinking “why am I doing this?” but more often than not I feel fantastic, born to step into the spotlight and rock it! The reason I can do this without sounding cheesy is that my motives are to share information, never to pitch. I practice lots of positive self talk beforehand and the fear subsides. Sometimes I feel vulnerable and scared but talk myself out of it. Fear can be unsettling but it goes!
During my talk I am taking in and assessing the audience, focusing on my performance, my body language and voice tone whilst trying to look and sound utterly natural! Afterwards I feel high but mentally drained!
How do you hold yourself? Any tips?
I connect my feet with the ground, radiate my biggest smile and take in the audience. I use natural body language, it’s okay to drop your arms by your side. Be as open and smiling as you can and sweep the room with your eyes. Some say you should fixate on one point but I believe it is important to make a connection with your audience throughout. Be conscious of your natural abilities but be aware that you aren’t in a pub or a café relaxing with your mates. You are putting on a performance so bring life and vigor to your talk. A great message can be lost with a poor performance. If you have a great message you need to deliver it with a fantastic performance; a touch of theatrical flair. Use your voice as a powerful tool, walk a little, and make appropriate gestures to support what you are saying.
What do you hear when speaking?
Because I don’t use notes, cue cards or a lectern I’ve accepted that my mind will go blank now and again. When it does I pause, take a sip of water and reconnect. It is important to share this because it shows that you don’t have to be perfect! I might hear myself saying “Slow down” or “he looks bored” “are they enjoying this?” which is natural… Sometimes like today timing can come into my mind because it is unprofessional to overrun. I’ve learned that you need to master the physical and the visual, have great content and be on time. I have an internal director saying things like “Dee cut that” so that we can finish in time for questions.
Why does public speaking help you?
It helps me personally as I believe that avoiding your fears impacts on self worth. Public speaking gives me self-esteem, courage and confidence. Professionally you are well paid for a few hours of work and preparation and of course your many years of experience and expertise. As an author it enables me to carry the messages in my books. The benefits are immense but you should never take them for granted. Treat your audience with respect.
Why is public speaking important to women?
It’s a great skill to add to your repertoire. It gives you mental agility, builds expert status, makes you stand out positively and commands respect.
Who are your public speaking heroes?
I saw Lara Morgan talk at Women Unlimited 2012 – she was natural, sassy, and unafraid. She was mesmerizing, commanded the stage and had no notes. Someone else I admire is Sam Garrity – he finds public speaking a real challenge but when he hits the stage is amazing.
My path to public speaking has been exciting and challenging. My first goal was to get out from behind the lectern, my second to ditch the cue cards and my final goal to stand and talk without notes. At my very first gig at the NEC I thought I was going to come out and drop dead! I survived and improved. I’m now at the stage where I want to add more props and tools to my repertoire. I’m always watching, always learning.
Dee Blick is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the World’s largest marketing body. She has 28 years’ marketing experience gained working with blue chip organisations and SMEs and a track record of planning and delivering successful campaigns on a shoestring budget.. Dee has won 10 awards for her press releases adverts and business articles from ABC1 audited publications and is the author of the Number 1 best selling marketing book on Amazon, The Ultimate Small Business Marketing Book with 75 5 star reviews.
You may be interested in Dee’s renowned ‘How to Write Sales Copy That Really Sells’ one day copywriting Boot Camp on Friday 23rd November with Dee sharing tips for great sales letters, printed communications and adverts plus special guest Ben Locker sharing his wisdom on how to write killer web copy. You’ll be shown dozens of simple, proven and effective copywriting techniques and formats and be provided with copywriting templates that Dee has developed in the last 28 years of her award-winning writing career. Go to www.themarketinggym.org to find out more, read unedited delegate feedback and book your place for just £150 plus VAT including all refreshments and a copywriting workbook worth £1200. (Similar one day copywriting boot camps are being marketed at £295-£500)