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How to speak in public with authenticity & confidence

Read on for a Blog post I wrote for Branding Photographer, Maryanne Scott

As a Celebrant, one of the things people often say to me is ‘ooh, how do you do that, standing up in front of so many people and talking? Especially at such an important occasion!’ or ‘Don’t you get nervous?’

Public speaking is one of the things that a lot of people profess to hate, however, chances are everyone will have a time in their life when they want or need to speak in front of a large group of people; be it a work presentation, client pitch or at a wedding or funeral. Holding onto the limiting belief that you can’t or are no good at speaking in front of people can hold you back in these situations so here are my top tips to help you embrace those public speaking opportunities when they present themselves to get the best out of yourself and make the most of them!

  • Nervous energy and excitement feel the same in our bodies. I heard this a while back from the brilliant Brené Brown and it has always stuck with me. In answer to one of the questions above, of course I feel nervous before every single ceremony. If I didn’t then I wouldn’t feel I was showing I care about doing a good job and delivering my very best for my couples and families. So instead of fighting against the nerves, I frame it like that. I want to do a good job and I am also excited about the ceremony and being a part of such a special day.
  • Find your own style and your own voice. Watching TED talks or getting tips from friends or colleagues is all very well but you won’t feel as comfortable or at ease if you are not being authentic so try to stay true to the way you would say things or hold yourself and it will sound more natural. I would always urge caution if using AI for this very reason.
  • Prepare and practice. Both these are often credited as the key to success and for good reason. Once you know what you are going to say, make sure you have read it over several times, preferably out loud and in front of a mirror to get really familiar with it. You could even film or record yourself to watch or listen back (if you can face this!) as this might help to pick up on any bits that need tweaking or where you could pause for emphasis.
  • Slow it down and don’t forget to breathe! On the day of delivery itself, don’t rush to get it done as quickly as possible. If it helps then visualise that you are in a yoga or pilates class where everything is slowed and smoothed and breathing is the key! If you do film or record yourself you will appreciate that the seconds where you pause or lose track are not the aching gaps they felt from your perspective, they are usually only split seconds, imperceivable to anyone else. If you do need a few extra breaths, take them.
  • Smile. It’s a bit cheesy but your audience will warm to you and react better if you deliver with a smile on your face. When someone smiles at us, we’re hardwired to want to grin back and when you see a sea of smiling faces in front of you, hopefully this will help you in turn to feel more relaxed.
  • Be kind to yourself afterwards. It’s human nature to focus on the things that didn’t go as well as you hoped and overlook the positives. I definitely need to do more work on this myself so I know it’s not easy! However, I try to park any immediate self- depreciatory thoughts that creep in after a ceremony when the adrenaline is still pumping in order to reflect more objectively after a few hours or the next day. If I feel I need some constructive feedback after the event, I will seek the opinion of a colleague (in my case it could be the venue staff or photographer) to help me improve in the future.

I hope this has been helpful and that you can put some of these tips into practice the next time you are in a public speaking situation.

One further thought to leave you with is that these tips also don’t relate to public speaking exclusively. You can also apply them to any situation where you feel out of your comfort zone or less confident than you would like to be, including your branding or Visibility School shoots with Maryanne!

If you would like to connect with me to ask me to expand on any of the above or simply to find out more about my work as a Celebrant, then please find me on Instagram @your_best_life_celebrant or check out my website

To find out more about branding shoots with Maryanne, please visit her website

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