Good Public Speaking Isn’t Magic

There seems to be an inherent insecurity around being able to accomplish good public speaking consistently. Even people who are skilled speakers worry about “losing the magic” or not being “in the zone.”

I get it—I’ve definitely had experiences when it feels like a talk I’m giving reaches a place it hasn’t gone before, where all the cylinders are firing in a brand-new way.

But when we let ourselves believe that it’s a fluke, that the planets just happened to align that one day, then we let ourselves off the hook for doing a great job every time. 

Dancers, athletes, and actors can’t rely on magic or the planets aligning. They have to do a great job, because it is their job. When they practice, they focus on honing their craft and their skill so that they don’t leave anything to chance. They review their performances, looking at what went well and where they can continue to develop.

Speakers can do that, too. 

Ask yourself: what went well? How did you prepare? What did you wear? Who was your audience? What was your internal monologue before you stepped up to speak? In that moment when you got distracted, what had happened? What were you thinking about? How did you get back on track (if you did)? What was on your mind that day?

When we review our work, we reinforce our good habits and continue to improve. You don’t have to wait for the magic to happen—you get to create it yourself.

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