Since I’ve been interviewed a few times lately, I thought I’d put together some notes on public appearances.

How To Nail Any Public Appearance

As an author, you’re used to using words to communicate and inspire emotions. But stepping out from behind the keyboard and standing in front of a crowd can be daunting, no matter how confident you are. Luckily there are some easy ways to make sure you nail any public appearance, whether it’s a reading of your work, an interview or an on-stage appearance. By following these simple tips, you can make sure that your next time in the spotlight is your best one yet. From projection and body language to content and delivery, read on for everything you need to know about nailing that public appearance.

Overview

When it comes to speaking publicly, there are a few things you can do to make sure you nail it every single time. First and foremost, always be prepared. This means knowing your material inside and out. If you’re giving a speech, for example, know the main points you want to get across and rehearse them until you’re confident you can deliver them flawlessly. If you’re reading from your work, don’t assume that you can do it without practicing! Rehearse until you’re sick of the sound of your own voice, and then do it once more for luck.

Another key to nailing any public appearance is to be confident. Remember that you know your subject, you deserve to be there, and you believe in yourself and your message. This will come across to your audience and help win them over. Finally, always be professional. No matter what the situation is, remain calm and collected and handle yourself with grace under pressure. If you can do these things, you’re sure to make a great impression every time you step into the spotlight.

Problems and Roadblocks

When it comes to public appearances, we often face a number of problems and roadblocks. Here are some tips on how to overcome them:

Lack of confidence

This is one of the most common problems faced by people during public speaking. It is important to remember that everyone feels nervous before speaking in front of an audience. The key is to focus on your strengths and be confident in yourself. During your practice, try and picture yourself on stage, or in front of the camera, and then it won’t be as daunting when it happens for real.

Fear of failure

We often worry about making a mistake or not being able to live up to the expectations of others. Again, it is important to focus on your strengths and believe in yourself. You’re your own harshest critic — no-one has come to see you hoping you’ll fail, they want to be entertained, and to listen to you.

Stage Fright

Many people suffer from stage fright, which can be very debilitating. The best way to overcome this is to practice beforehand and get used to the feeling of being in front of an audience. During your practice, get one person to watch you, in person or over a video call, so you get used to the idea of an audience. Then you can ask two people, or more, to build up your confidence.

Nerves

When it comes to public speaking, the biggest hurdle for many people is simply getting over their nerves. If you’re shy or have anxiety about speaking in front of others, there are a few things you can do to ease your fears and make sure you give a great performance.

  • First, it’s important to understand that everyone gets nervous before speaking in public. It’s perfectly normal, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Just accept that you might be a little anxious and move on.
  • Second, try to relax and focus on your breathing. Taking some deep breaths before you start will help calm your nerves.
  • Finally, remember that you know your material better than anyone else in the room. You’ve prepared for this moment, so trust yourself and go out there and nail it! Knowing your material inside out helps too, as you’ll quickly fall into the habit of presenting it, bypassing the nerves entirely.

What if my mind goes blank?

If you’re ever at a loss for words, there are a few things you can do to get yourself back on track. First, take a deep breath and relax. It’s natural to feel nervous when speaking in front of others, but try to stay calm and focused. Second, think about what you want to say before you start speaking. It can be helpful to have some key points in mind before you begin so that you don’t get lost along the way. Write them down, so you can refer back to them if you need to. Finally, if all else fails, simply smile and make eye contact with your audience. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just be yourself and let your personality shine through.

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

When it comes to public appearances, we all have a little bit of imposter syndrome. Standing up in front of a crowd and delivering a speech or presentation is no easy feat, and it’s normal to feel like you’re not good enough or that you’re going to embarrass yourself. The key to nailing any public appearance is to overcome your imposter syndrome and give yourself a chance to shine.

You need to know that you’re capable of delivering a great speech or presentation. When you believe in yourself, the rest of the world will believe in you too. You’ve been invited there for a reason, no-one is trying to catch you out, you’re there on merit.

Visualising success is a powerful tool for overcoming imposter syndrome. Before your speech or presentation, take a few minutes to close your eyes and visualize yourself giving a great performance. See yourself confidently delivering your material and receiving applause from the audience at the end. This positive visualisation will help boost your confidence on the day of your public appearance.

I hate my voice

If you’re not a fan of your own voice, public speaking can be a nightmare. The good news is, there are ways to overcome this dislike and deliver a great speech or presentation.

Start by recording yourself speaking. This will help you get used to the sound of your own voice and become more comfortable with it. Then, practice in front of friends or family members who can give you honest feedback.

It’s also important to focus on the content of your speech or presentation and not on how you sound. If you’re confident in what you’re saying, that will come across in your voice. Remember that your audience wants to hear what you have to say, so try to relax and enjoy the experience.

With a little practice, you’ll be able to overcome your dislike of your own voice and deliver a great public performance.

Hints and Tips

Gaining publicity

When it comes to nailing a public appearance, gaining publicity is one of the key benefits. Here are some tips on how to gain publicity for your next public appearance:

  • Make sure your press release is newsworthy. A good press release will generate interest from the media and help you secure coverage for your event.
  • Build relationships with members of the media. If you have a good relationship with members of the media, they are more likely to cover your event or give you positive exposure.
  • Create a buzz around your event. Use social media, email marketing, and other channels to promote your event and get people excited about it. This will help you generate interest from the media and the general public.
  • Make sure your event is well-organised and professional. A well-run event will reflect positively on you and increase the chances of getting positive coverage.
  • Follow up with the media after your event. Thank them for their coverage and let them know that you appreciate it. This will help build goodwill and make them more likely to cover you in the future.

Gaining experience

If you’re looking to improve your public speaking skills, there’s no substitute for experience. The more you do it, the better you’ll become at thinking on your feet, dealing with nerves, and connecting with an audience.

There are plenty of opportunities to practice public speaking, even if you don’t have any formal events lined up. Here are a few ideas:

  • Give a presentation to your friends or family members on a topic you’re passionate about
  • Volunteer to speak at local community events
  • Join a Toastmasters club to practice in a supportive environment
  • Do impromptu speeches or presentations as part of your job (e.g., if you’re asked to lead a meeting at work)

Whatever route you choose, make sure you’re getting comfortable being in front of an audience and delivering your message clearly and confidently. With enough practice, anyone can learn to be a great public speaker!

Connecting with your audience

When it comes to public speaking, the most important thing is to connect with your audience. This means being genuine, relatable, and authentic.

Here are a few tips on how to connect with your audience:

  • Establish rapport. Rapport is the key to connection. With a small audience or an interviewer, you can establish rapport by mirroring their body language and speaking style. But don’t just copy them! Which brings us to our next point:
  • Be yourself. Your audience will appreciate you more if you’re genuine and authentic. So be yourself and don’t try to be someone you’re not.
  • Tell stories. Stories are a great way to connect with your audience on an emotional level. Share stories that are relevant to your topic and that will resonate with your audience. Within reason, the more personal they are, the better.
  • Use humor. Humor is another great way to connect with your audience and make them remember your presentation or speech. Just make sure that your humor is appropriate for the occasion and doesn’t come across as offensive or insensitive.
  • Ask questions. Asking questions is a great way to engage your audience and get them involved in your presentation or speech. Make sure you ask questions that are relevant to your topic and that will elicit thoughtful responses from your audience.

Preparation

What should you be doing before you step out on stage, or shake hands with your interviewer?

  • Do your research. Know who you’re talking to and what their interests are. This will help you tailor your message and ensure that you’re delivering the right information.
  • Be prepared. Have a game plan for how you want to deliver your message and what you want to achieve with the appearance. This will help keep you focused and on track.
  • Be confident. Projecting confidence will make you more likable and trustworthy to your audience. It’s important to believe in what you’re saying if you want others to as well.
  • Practice, practice, practice. The more prepared you are, the better off you’ll be when it comes time to deliver your message. Rehearse what you’re going to say until you feel comfortable with it.
  • Relax and have fun! Remember that this is an opportunity to connect with people and share your message with them. If you enjoy yourself, it will show through in your delivery.

Video Interviews

Even as the world opens back up to travel and in-person meetings, there are a lot of occasions where a video-call or online interview are the best choice. When preparing for a video interview, there are a few key things to keep in mind in order to make sure you give the best impression possible.

  • First, choose a quiet location with good lighting and no distractions. You want the interviewer to be able to see and hear you clearly, without any background noise or interruptions.
  • Second, dress professionally, as you would for an in-person interview. This will help you feel more confident and show that you are taking the interview seriously.
  • Make sure your technology is set up and working properly ahead of time. Test your camera and microphone beforehand so there are no technical issues during the interview. Make sure no-one is downloading huge game updates or streaming 4K Netflix to keep the internet connection free.
  • You can do a call with the webcam built into most laptops, but you will look a lot better with even a small upgrade. An external webcam (or see if you can connect your phone to use as one) will boost the quality. Whatever you use the more light you can provide, the better. You don’t need pro gear, even a cheap Ikea desk lamp will help - but bounce it off white walls or the ceiling rather than shine it into your eyes!
  • While your computer might have a built-in mic and speakers, a headset or external mic will greatly improve the audio. Look into gaming headsets, although you can also get great results with a hands-free kit for a phone, too.
  • Ensure your hair is neatly styled and out of your face.
  • If you use makeup, apply a simple, understated look that enhances your features without looking too heavy. Video calls can make you look very different than you do in person, so it’s safer not to overdo it.
  • If you wear glasses, make sure they’re clean and free of any smudges.
  • Smile often and make eye contact with the camera to project confidence and warmth.

Summary

Hopefully by now you’re much more confident and well-prepared for your next public appearance. Whether it’s an interview one-on-one, a livestream or a public event, getting your face and your voice out there will benefit your writing career immensely. You’ll be able to more enjoy public appearances, have a greater chance of impressing your audience, and building a strong reputation. Additionally, you’ll find it easier to network and connect with people when you’re not anxious about being in front of them. Good luck!