The Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Guide to Public Speaking

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, UK Movie Poster, 1937

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, UK Movie Poster, 1937

My friend inspired me to write this post because she is about to do defend her thesis. Below is a response to: “What are you tips to public speaking, because I’m terrified.”

Passion & Emotion is the secret Potion: When you are preparing to do a public speech, let your passion shine through. Most of the time, hopefully, you are presenting something you are interested in, and even better, something you are passionate about. Let your energy and interest shine through, let the excitement and emotion that you feel about the topic ooze out when you deliver the speech or presentation, key messages, this is a sure way to feel connected with the listeners, and to ease your nerves.

Dress to impress, gown, crown and all the works: Rehearsal Practice: I always practice with my outfit on point, shows, makeup, hair done, the whole persona is set up. It’s like preparing for big show, the dress rehearsal. This is a great way to feel the part, as you will practice the words and flow, noting what is working, and eliminating parts that don’t vibe, or re-working areas that you know could be better. It allows you to feel like it is in real time, as you will be dressed for the part.

Mirror mirror on the wall, how am I doing? Adding a mirror, or recording yourself, which you can easily do on your smart phone, is a bonus, as it allows you to see what the audience sees, and hear what they will hear. You will allow you to iron out the “uhhs” and “ermms” and it will ensure you are posture perfect and eliminating positive and confident vibes.

Defy these inner dwarfs:

Sleepy: Make sure you are well rested. It is easy to skip the sleep and rest and continue to prepare into the wee hours of the night. However, in all honesty, you are better off in a rested state before you speak in public because not only will your mind be more sharp (more on sleep in the below links), but you will have the rested glow about you.

Bashful: Let your boldness takeover your shyness. Even if you have to fake it, go out there and deliver your presentation or key messages with all the confience you can muster up. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but aim to be authentic, and always keep it real. This will resonate with the audience and your true message will shine through.

Sneezy: Avoid taking any meds, even if you are having trouble getting to sleep, or if you are really sick. Some cold medicines may make you drowsy and your lackadaisical mood may compromise a good presentation delivery. If you feel very sick, I recommend re-booking your slot, but letting the organizers know in advance.

Grumpy: Don’t do it. Don’t react. If there are hecklers, or haters, kill them with kindness. Be direct with those who are being disrespectful in the crowd, and you will always win (and maybe nudge security to make a move if it get its too intense.) Additionally, in the case of questions and answer sessions, prepare in advance what you think may come up, and be ready to give your best answer. If a question comes up that stumps you, be honest and say you don’t know, note the persons, name (and afterwards their contact info) and let them know you will investigate the answer and respond to them in due course.

Tap into these inner dwarfs:

Doc: You are the master, the PhD, the CEO, the numero uno in [Enter title of your presentation/speech HERE].

Happy: A smile goes a long way. When starting your public speech, do it with a cheerful attitude and sense of happiness; you’ll have your audience at “Hello”.

Dopey: Be dope. You are dope, so walk the walk, talk the talk. If it’s your PhD thesis, or a speech to you local community, or a guest lecture, have fun, share your knowledge and have your audience walk away having witnessed a fantastic message and delivery from you. 

What other tips do you have for public speaking? Picture people in their underwear? Deep breathing exercises before you hit the stage? Share what you do in the comments, I’d love to hear.


Importance of sleep, additional resources: