• Butterflies in your stomach, cold feet, sweaty palms, a lump in your throat- ACK! Why would anyone agree to speak in public? For starters, it could be a great opportunity to promote your business, share ideas in your industry or connect with an audience of potential brand seeders. Plus it turns out, all those nerves are actually a good thing:

STRATEGY #1 Butterflies Are Your Friends

  • Embrace your nerves. All that energy coursing through your body before you give a speech is nature’s way of preparing you to do your best. (Don’t believe me? Watch this life -changing Ted Talk on how we’ve given stress a bad name). Practice some mindful breathing and stand tall before your speech (watch THIS amazing talk on the effects of our own  body language on ourselves). Your nerves also mean you are invested in this event – and a speaker who isn’t invested comes across as dull and boring. Chanel that nervous energy into enthusiasm, and your listeners will pay attention.

STRATEGY #2 Be Audience- Centred

  • You aren’t a circus show!  Your audience isn’t there to laugh, stare at or admire your snazzy suit.  Audiences are asking, “Why should I listen? Why is this important to me?” Instead of worrying about yourself, focus on your listeners, both in your preparation and delivery. How can you plan an introduction that will engage your listeners and help them connect to your topic? Think about their needs and tailor your content.

STRATEGY #3 Personalize

  • If you want to truly connect with your listeners, be willing to be a little vulnerable. If this doesn’t seem to jive with common notions of a sales pitch or a business plan presentation, think again. Letting your listeners see and hear the “why” behind your ideas, the passion behind your business or your personal connection to a product or service will win more people over than facts, charts, or statistics alone. Personalizing is a great strategy for any kind of talk- and for topics that are on the dry side, it can be the magic element that keeps your listeners tuned in.
  • All in all- energize, personalize, and connect!  


  • Not only can public speaking open doors for your career and business, it can be quite a rewarding experience. Plan, prepare and practice when possible, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!
  • Erica Halvorsen teaches Effective Public Speaking at BCIT.
  • You can also connect with her at Erica Jane Consulting