Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
Hannah Russell
Features Writer
11:11 AM 18th October 2017

Public Speaking - Love It Or Hate It!

Public speaking - you either love it or you hate it and I can guarantee you have to do it at least once in your whole life, whether it's answering a question in the classroom or giving a work presentation it's always a daunting task - unless you're super confident that is.

Over the past year I've had my fair share of public speaking and being an author it kind of comes with the job!

You want people to know more about your writing so when you get asked to do a school talk at your local primary school you just can't say no!

I did my first public speaking event back in 2016. At the start of the year I was asked to give a 30 minute talk on 'life as an author' to my local rotary club of around 60 people and I thought 'why not'. So I made loads of notes and went along one night to give the talk.

I must admit I was really nervous on the day of the event and ended up typing so many notes it was a little ridiculous. I then felt quite sick which comes with nerves, but as soon as I arrived at the venue I felt quite settled somehow. After all I was only talking about what I knew!

After I saw a few familiar faces and had a glass of water I began my talk.

To start with it was a little bit shaky, but I took a few deep breaths and continued talking and before I knew it 30 minutes had flown by. To my surprise I was actually way over my talking stint. I was enjoying talking to an audience that much I really didn't want to stop.

After my first public speaking event word got out to other local groups and I began getting quite a lot of bookings!

This month alone I have been to 5 different venues and given talks on my life and writing and I really have learned to love them. Although I do sometimes still get nervous I suppose it's only natural and it's also great to be out of your comfort zone.

Last month I did a talk in front of a school of 800 students and that was quite a daunting task, but like any other talk it just seemed to fly by.

Every time I do a talk I always learn something 'new'. Like last time I did a talk I should have allowed a couple of minutes break in the middle for the audience to understand and take in what I had just said, but at the end of the day it's all experience and you learn as you go along.

Here are 3 of my tips for public speaking:

Record and listen to yourself - sounds a little cringy I know but this is the only way I found out that I say 'ummm' a lot and practice makes perfect after all.

Work on your breathing - not easy when you're nervous I know but try to stay calm and relaxed.

Talk about something you really care about - I've seen public speakers before who are so enthusiastic about what they talk about it makes me want to do their job. It's important you talk about what you care about as this will really reflect to your audience.