Keynote speeches in front of large audiences. That's the scariest thing for most people in the workplace, it may never happen to you, it may happen once every five years, maybe once a year in big annual convention for everyone in your industry, but you're up on a stage, you may have 100 500 1000 5000 people looking at you. And for most people, it is scary. So you get the nerves coming, even if you're normally a confident speaker. The problem of course with your nerves is you're tempted to change yourself, to calm your nerves. So you're tempted to do things like read a speech, read bullet points, use a teleprompter.
For the most part, all of those ideas are horrible ideas. You need to still practice the fundamentals. Have a basic cheat sheet with your notes that you can glance down and look at. Here's the thing people don't believe in When I tell them this, it's actually easier to speak in front of a really large audience than a small audience and form a good impression on the audience. Because at some level, they're looking at you up on stage. And they're impressed already that you're willing to get out there because most people's biggest fear is speaking and speaking in front of a large audience.
So the fact that you're up there, they give you credit, they give you points. Here's the other thing. So we talked about earlier, if you simply walk around the stage, when you speak, people will be like, Wow, did you see that? She was so confident he was so calm, but he just walked around and talk and never do that. Well, here's the thing. Any three year old child can walk and talk?
I don't know of any other professional activity where you just doing something that a three year old can do. People are impressed by if you're just eating food, laughing, no one's going to give you credit for that. But walking and talking in front of a large group seems really hard. It seems scary. So people perceive it as a much harder task and they give you a lot more credit for it. So, practice walking.
I won't belabor the point but even more so in a keynote speech, you need to practice on video until you're comfortable with it something else that can help practicing in the actual room where you're giving this speech. Because if you practice in your own small office, for example, or home and you're really comfortable, and now you get to the convention center, and it's this gigantic, cavernous place and you can't even see the back of the room. It's going to feel scary if you're up there in front of people the whole time. Something else that will make you more relaxed get They're early, walk around the whole edge of the room get comfortable there, actually touch the chairs as you walk around. I know it sounds silly and kind of new agey, but it does actually work. It makes you more comfortable.
And because you're more comfortable, you'll be able to move again and sound natural. And that's what's key here. So even if you never, ever take my advice on practicing on video, make an exception for the big keynote speeches because nothing can cement your career in a more powerful, positive way that a great keynote speech, think of what Steve Jobs presentations did for his career, his business because they were so powerful. On the other hand, if you make a really awful presentation, people remember that too. The stakes are higher but the rewards are much higher, too.