The state of public speaking in our society is rather sorry. And although that statement might be kind of heavily influenced by the existence of Rick Perry and this girl (who should be married immediately…with neither of them allowed to speak to a group of more than four people at a time at said wedding), it is definitely true that you cannot text speeches to a gathering of people, and for the time being—until an app is created that solves the problem of us having to give speeches—a verbally delivered speech is still sadly the norm.
It has been said that the fear of public speaking ranks above fears of heights, spiders, confined spaces and death. So, besides giving a practice speech to a crowd of tarantulas in a hot air balloon, what strategies can you employ to come off looking good and fail-free the big day? If you tried to click on that fake link to tarantulas in a hot air balloon, you are already confronting your fears and are well on your way. The rest of these strategies will have you speaking like Bill Clinton at an intern festival (too not soon?).
Strategy No. 1: Imagine the audience has way more embarrassing and socially crippling phobias than your comparatively overcomable and trifling public speaking problem
Here is a list to give you a head start on what might be plaguing each person’s fictional professional and personal lives:
—Selenophobia (overwhelming irrational fear of the moon (who’s afraid of the moon?))
—Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (overwhelming irrational fear of long words (seems kind of cruel))
—Panophobia (overwhelming irrational fear of everything (even this?))
—Lenoblogophobia (overwhelming irrational fear of pandering blog posts (hmm…))
Strategy No. 2: Outsource the crowd to India for a practice run
Practicing your speech in front of one or two or three people or spiders is alright and all, but what if you could could practice in front of a whole real crowd of just slightly more economically disadvantaged people? My math tells me this is more than possible.
Say your speech is 10 minutes long. Then say you go to taskseveryday.com and hire an Indian taskrabbit at the rate of $6.98/hour. For 10 minutes of your time that’s only $1.16! So, if you really want to be prepared to talk to a lot of people, hiring 25 virtual audience members for about $30, throwing them on Google hangout, maybe with some silly Google hangout glasses or masks to enhance the simulation—if you really want to be prepared, I’m sure there are throngs of attentive far eastern peeps willing to rack up 10 minutes of easy pay for your cause.
Strategy No. 3: Remember, always remember, you will never be as nervous or get as many Youtube views for your botched speech as this man:
Strategy No. 4: Use the “Independence Day” trick
The Independence Day trick, to my knowledge, has worked for every single person I know who has tried it, including one sad case who had to speak in a whisper even when announcing herself to the secretary in her optometrist’s waiting room. It goes something like this:
Watch the speech given by the President near the end of the 1996 summer mega-blockbuster Independence Day. Then watch it again. Really try to get in the head of President Whitmore—the kind of pressure he’s facing as basically the leader of all of humanity at this point, the rude psychological jolt of losing a family member and returning to combat. Know that humanity might have not fared so well without such a speech.
Now say the speech yourself, delivering it with whatever fraction of Whitmore’s gravitas you can muster. When you finish, repeat the speech, but this time with a paragraph of your speech replacing the last paragraph of the President’s speech. And with every iteration simply insert more of your speech until the Independence Day invocation has actually become your speech, and you are suddenly saving humanity with your own words. And when the big day comes, trust me, you’ll be ready.