Always be ready for the mike

I went to a meeting this week and was running a little late. I knew it would be a lunch gathering about a project that I lead but didn't have a lot of other details. I was feeling pretty proud of myself for making it just on time when I slipped into my seat. I took a look at the program and was beyond surprised when I saw that I was the second speaker listed. A few years ago I would have broken into a stress sweat and hid in the bathroom waiting for them to go on without me. Instead I continued the great conversation I was having with my table mates and when they called my name I reminded myself to stick to 5 minutes and gave what I hope was an informative and friendly introduction to the program that I lead.

So the key to going from shock to ease in just a few minutes...preparation.  For programs that I may be asked to give an impromptu speech about, I have a 30 second, 5 minute, 15 minute, and thirty minute version that I am ready to do anytime. I also have speeches in the same lengths ready to talk about myself, my organization, my job, the Nonprofit Rockstar book and the future of philanthropy. It isn't as overwhelming as it sounds. I often use the Beyond Bullet Points method to script the outline and the version can get longer as I add details and stories to my key points.

Being a prepared public speaker sets you apart professionally and decreases your need to hid in the bathroom in fear exponetially.