The Five Things I learned from my TEDx Talk – Nerves never go away. Create your own ritual.

The Five Things I learned from my TEDx Talk

1. Nerves never go away. Create your own ritual.

2. Improvisation is the mindset for live events. Use the take-it-and-go approach.

3. You have to involve the audience. Plan your interactions.

4. Successful speaking comes in many styles. Find your speaking voice.

5. Timing a talk is the icing on the cake. Rehearsal is the key to perfect timing.

Over the next few blogs, I will share what I learned and how you can apply it to improve your public speaking skills. Here is part one:

1. Nerves never go away. Create your own ritual

I am sure you can relate to that feeling of worry which you feel before or during a public speech. Heart rate going a little faster. Sweat beads appearing on your forehead. But as an experienced speaker I rarely feel nervous. After all this is what I love doing and I really enjoy public speaking and sharing with an audience. So as the time for my TEDx talk came closer I found that I was getting all the symptoms. My mouth was a little dry and I couldn’t sit down without nervous energy building up. Why would this happen? Simply, the stakes were higher. The reputation of giving a TED talk and my own personal expectations to perform at a high level meant that this talk was more critical in my own mind.

So how can you reduce the inevitable nerves?

I have a ritual that I go through for conference speeches where I am faced by hundreds of people or TEDx talks where the potential audience is in the thousands or more. I like to move around while mentally tracing through my talk. I think about how I will open, move from one point to another, how to close and how to interact with the audience. I drink water to hydrate and by moving around I channel my nervous energy into physical energy. An important talk is a performance – a physical performance – so by preparing yourself physically you can start strong and allow your nerves to turn into enthusiasm. Before I go on stage I like to be alone but occasionally will have quick conversations to release more stress. I try to make myself and others laugh. This again puts me in the right frame of mind. I want to have light, engaging energy. I focus about the value and fun I will have with the audience. Once I get on stage and get started, my nerves disappear as I am focused on my audience and presentation delivery.

What is your ritual before your high stakes presentation?

Tick off a checklist to cover:

– Your opening 60 seconds

– How you will close

– Key transitions between slides

– How you will make eye contact with the audience

– Where you will stand

– How you will move around the stage

– Put yourself in a positive frame of mind

– Hydrate and get your physical presence ready

Next time I will have a look at another thing I learned from TEDx.

Warwick John Fahy runs workshops around Asia which help managers and senior managers from technical backgrounds to become more influential in business situations.

Warwick is Asia’s leading business presentation coach working with business leaders who need to influence clients, investors, shareholders and team members. His results-driven approach and deep cross cultural understanding make him a sought after business presentation coach throughout Asia. Download a free report “10 Warning Signs Your Leaders Lack Executive Presence” at

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