ANNOUNCER: If you’re struggling with your vitality, energy, mood, focus, or sleep, this podcast is for you. Your host, Dr. Ann Tsung, ER doctor, and aerospace flight surgeon, will help you reach for the stars and remove the barriers or blockades that have been holding you back from living your best life. If you’ve been challenged by your health, relationships, or productivity, then it’s time for a breakthrough. So, here’s your host, Dr. Ann Tsung.
Hello, welcome to It’s Not Rocket Science Show. I am your host, Dr. Ann Tsung.
Have you ever feared public speaking or giving a presentation and you are just dreading it? Have you ever thought about what if they don’t like me? What if the information I give they think I’m stupid? What if they think I don’t know what I’m talking about? Or perhaps maybe you’re just scared of standing up and public or you’re a shy person you don’t like to be in the limelight, you don’t want to give a presentation and have everybody looking at you. I’ve had all of the above fears before. And since I was in, specifically college, and medical school residency, and throughout all of the fellowship training, I’ve had to give a lot of presentations. And because I am huge on productivity, I sought out ways to improve my presentation skills, my public speaking skills and to get over my fear of public speaking. So, this is what I’m going to be talking about all the ways, tools, tactics, and mindsets, I’ve learned through taking public speaking courses through reading public speaking books. And so, let’s go ahead and dive in. We’ll talk about the mindset, how to get over the fear, and the tools on how to present, how to create the presentation, and how to connect with your audience in the end.
If you ever have the fear of speaking in public, because you don’t want to look stupid, or you don’t know what other people are going to think of you how you’re dressed, what you say how your slides look, just think to yourself – this has really helped me tremendously – it’s not about you, it’s about them. I’m going to repeat that again, if you have fear about public speaking or giving a presentation, because you’re worried about how people may perceive you, again, it’s not about you, it’s about them.
So, what that means is that when you’re giving a presentation, the purpose, the intention is the most important. And really, the purpose is to relay that information to the audience, to educate, to help them understand, to change a habit to change your mindset. So, I have to set this intention for myself every time I record a session, of course and this audio session because, you know, even though it’s something I’ve been trying to work on for a very long time to get over this fear of what other people would think of my content and my podcast, what if they think I’m stupid, what if they think I don’t know what I’m talking about, or what if I sound monotone? I have to remember to set the intention that it’s not about you. It’s about changing the mindset changing sort of productivity hack, or for this intention, it’s about giving you some sort of tools and tactics to get over your fear of public speaking. It’s about relaying the information clearly so that they understand. So, they walk away feeling say, enriched, or energized, or confident, or any sort of emotional state they want to experience after your talk. So again, I think the best way to get over your fear is to remember, it’s not about you, it’s about them.
After you set the intention, the purpose could be the emotional states you want your audience to be in when you’re done, or a lot of times for a technical presentation is say there’s three main key points you definitely want to impart on your audience when you’re completed. And then from there, that’s when I actually create my presentation from the three key points. The impact I want to make an all the presentation, the content, goes into that, builds around that. Instead of, in the past, what I used to do was I would kind of brain dump the content, the outline, and all of it. And there’s just like, there’s a lot of material and I come up with a bunch of slides and I actually have to decrease it. I used to think that the more details I give the better it is. The more content there is, the smarter I would sound. But really, if you think about the purpose, if you really want the audience to memorize to remember what you say, you have to stick with a few primary points, and then you build the evidence behind that, instead of bombarding them with all the facts. And you know, there’s just no way to remember. So, when I build my presentation, say on slideshows, then I would make it a story a lot of times, and you can do that even in a scientific presentation in the hospital. Because we remember things better by stories. When we talked about a memory technique before, it’s about associating a person or an animal, some sort of character with an action, going through some sort of motion, okay. And when you can string that all together, you can create a story. And that’s how we remember things. So, what I’ve used it on is that technique is when you see a presentation with a case, like a patient, you tend to remember it better, right? But when you see a case with the patient, like House MD, if you have ever seen that show, if you can learn the case, by the House episodes, the story then that sticks into your brain much better. So, what I’ve done in the past for a fellowship presentation on pulmonary fibrosis, so it’s a fairly complicated disease where basically, the tissues in your lungs harden, and you have issues with your breathing. And it’s a fairly complicated condition. And there are many different types too, that can confuse you with exactly what type it is. So, what I did was, I would pick out one case, one patient, and I kind of followed her throughout the journey. And whenever any issues come up, any questions come up, and say, okay, so what did you do with this? Do you give this medication? What is the diagnosis? What lab would you get? And first, I asked us a question so that the audience can answer themselves or attempt to answer themselves. So, this goes into like patient interaction. And then after that, then I will present the studies or the evidence behind them, and then move on to the next scene.
So, say the lab results showed this or the diagnosis showed this, and you have to give her a type of medication, which one will help her the best? Again, you pull the audience, get their interaction, and then you present the evidence. And I made a story out of it. In the end, you let the audience know how she did, you can make this up, let them know how she did and how she ended up. And so, you come back full circle, and you close the loop so that the audience feels like a sense of closure, essentially, after you finish your presentation. Sense of say, like a calm or steadiness. Okay? You don’t want to leave, just like when you watch a movie, and that ends abruptly or like, what, that’s it, what happened next, you don’t want to leave your audience feeling like that, you maybe want to like give them a little bit of suspense, like what’s to come in the future, but you want them to have a sense of closure.
Okay. So that’s the story portion. When you’re giving a presentation, try to make a story and be creative. Because a lot of times we think, well, it’s a super technical presentation, it’s scientific, I just have to, you know, present the facts, you can’t really make it a story. Really, you can be creative. And after you make the presentation, it’s best if you can have somebody proofread it, or somebody who’s in the field, to review your content to review your flow, or even the best is that you give you practice and presentation in front of somebody so that they can give you feedback on your eye contact your body movement, I tend to move my hands too much. So, I have to actually be very purposeful with my hands. And I know that. Or if you don’t have anybody who can watch you. You can record yourself on any sort of recording platform and just view it. Don’t be afraid to view yourself after. I know people hate doing this. But this time investment will make you a better presenter down the line. And you have to think that the purpose of you reviewing yourself to improve yourself so that in the future you can relate information much better for the audience. Okay, it’s not about you. It’s about them.
Okay. So, after I’d create the presentations, oftentimes when I need to memorize things, you don’t want to look at your slides and just read off of it. You want to practices so many times that you know exactly the slide that are coming next. And often it takes me about three to five run-throughs to get to that stage, okay? And a lot of times when you’re running through things, you find that some of the flow needs to be adjusted, some of the text can be deleted. You’ll find that there’s often too much information on there that doesn’t flow, or maybe you need to adjust the order of the slides. And one technique that I have used in order to memorize most of my slides, or to even give a presentation without slides and just off of memory, if we know the content really well already, is I use a memory palace. Or for those of you who have not heard of a memory palace, essentially, the gist is that you pick a familiar place like your home, and you pick, like say, your living room, like five spots, and you’re the five objects in your living room. Or you can just pick the room itself. Pick the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom office, and say if you have three core contents, four core contents, you just imagine the action or the character in that place, doing whatever. Okay?
So, for example, if I have to talk about just for example, public speaking, okay, setting intentions was the first thing I talked about, right? It’s not about you, it’s about them. So, when I walked in the door, my home, but first thing I want to talk about is intentions. And I would imagine myself, in my living room, sitting on my couch, closing my eyes, and just thinking to myself, verbalizing my intentions, I am watching myself and the third person watching myself doing this, and I am verbalizing the intentions on my couch. And that’s the first thing I’m going to talk about. And then if I want to remember, say, the purpose, the main points, I want my audience to know, I would perhaps move over to the kitchen. And I will pick a few objects in the kitchen that will help me remember the purpose that I want the audience to remember and say, okay, the purpose for this podcast right now is that I want them to remember to set intentions to remember the key points and to create a story. And so, I would maybe create a story of from the objects in the kitchen. And you can use like the stove, or the microwave or whatever, just be creative, okay? And you do the same tactic from room to room until you’re done, you know, until you have kind of like an outline of your presentation. So, memory palace is something that I have used in the past to help me remember the key contents.
So, you create the content, it’s fantastic. You want them to remember these key points, you’ve perfectly memorized this presentation. And now, when you actually had to give the presentation, how will you connect with your audience? What is the most effective way to communicate, and I’ve taken courses online through Lisa Nichols and Mindvalley on public speaking, I’ve also read a ton of public speaking books, which I’ll link in the show notes. And the tools and tactics I’ve learned, you know, these micro habits I’ve learned have really helped me tremendously as I added them one by one. And the first thing if you can go to the place of your presentation, you want to practice there if you can. Just being in that environment is high-fidelity training, it’s completely different from practicing in your home. And if you can in your home, practice standing up, practice walking from one end to the other end, just like you’re on stage, and practice your hand motions, practice your eye contact and wear professional clothing. Because the way you practice is how you’re going to perform. Okay, the way you practice is how you will perform. And this is the same in athletic training and weightlifting, you know.
So, what I would do, I will practice a ton at home, high fidelity, standing up, walking around with professional clothing. And then when I’m at the site, I look to see whether it’s available for me to practice if not like say you know after the events over at the end of the day, and if not, sometimes I will go to a quiet room next door. And when I had to give a presentation in Hungary in front of an international audience, I was so scared. It was like a ton of international flight surgeons or people in aviation and here I am an aerospace medicine resident and I have to give a presentation to them. I was really scared. I practiced probably six or seven times already at home. But before that my actual presentation when I was on site, I was able to find a room right next to the auditorium but it gives like a similar field ambiance the audience is kind of like next door so it’s definitely a higher fidelity training than you know your home. So, I gave the presentation there with my laptop by myself. And of course, you want to check your audiovisual before you do anything. Okay. And I would say the best tactic I’ve used in terms of like connecting with the audience if you’re doing this in person is to not stand behind a podium, I would go up on stage, I take the microphone, or I will have a cordless headset, perhaps type of microphone, and I come out to the stage so I can connect.
When you’re behind a podium, you tend to seem very distant, and the audience feels like they can’t connect with you as well. You know, you want to seem professional, depending on the presentation, you also want to seem personable, like you’re just like them. You’re a human being, You’re not really high on the totem pole. So, I come out there, I say hello to them. And I connect with the audience by having open body language by standing at the front of the stage, not in the back of the stage. And by walking from one end of the stage as I talk, but not too fast, to the other end of the stage. And I know, a lot of times when we’re doing virtual presentations through the webcam through zoom, or whatever you use. And I would say the best way to connect with the audience that way, when you’re starting out, is to, of course, have your camera on, say hello to the audience. If you don’t know them, or they don’t know you introduce yourself first. In addition to your professional background, say a little bit about your personal background, hobbies, so that the audience can relate to you a little bit better. And when I say “say hello to the audience,” I mean, say their names. If there are a lot of them, maybe just the first few. But if it’s like 10-20 people, as you see them come in, as you can see their names on the Zoom, or Skype or whatever. You can say Hello, Henry. Hey, Brian, how’s it going? How’s it been? Hi, Kelly, how’s it going? How’s your day been? When people hear their names, they feel a connection instantly to you already. And that’s how you can build a connection quickly, virtually.
And so, when you’re doing it virtually though, when I talk about eye contact, a lot of times we’re looking at ourselves, or the presentation. But we’re not looking at the camera. And a lot of times, the audience, they’re looking at your presentation too, and they’re not necessarily looking at you. Though, if you’re just giving a talk with no slides, I think it’s important every now and then, to look at your camera. Look at your camera as much as possible. If you’re seeing me on video right now, this is me looking at the camera, this is me looking at myself, then if you look at the camera, again, the audience will feel a connection to you, like you’re speaking directly to them. Okay. And if you’re looking just at the slides at yourself, you will find that there is an actual difference. And you could probably see that from the other presentations you’ve been to. Most of the time presenters are looking at themselves or the presentation because, well, sometimes you may have to because of the information that’s on the slides. And that’s why the practice becomes important, because a lot of times you don’t really need the slides anymore to give your talk.
And so, to summarize, you walk up, build a connection, okay. Don’t stand in front of the podium. You say hello. Say a little bit about yourself. Make yourself relatable. Build a human connection. And now if you’re doing this in-person, when you’re walking around back and forth on the stage, you will split the audience section up into whatever sections you want, depending on how big it is. But you can split them up, say like front row, middle section back section, and you pick out one person that you are going to make eye contact with as you go through your talk. Because if you make eye contact with that one person, the rest of the people in that section will think you’re actually making eye contact with them, which is pretty awesome. And it’s as if the speaker or you’re speaking directly to them, that’s how they’re going to feel. And again, that increases connection, that increases purpose. They’ll pay attention to you more instead of zoning out. If they feel like you’re actually speaking to them. So that’s what I would do. When I spoke with that international audience. I walked in one end of the stage, I looked at one person at the front, one person in the middle, one person at the back, it was just kind of random. And I walked towards the middle and I go backward, like one person in the back, middle, front, walk to the other end. Look at one person their eyes directly in their eyes in the front, middle, and back. And I’ll tell you that after that speaking session, so many people came up to me and said that that was an amazing presentation. I really got what you were trying to say. You’re an awesome speaker.
To me, I was it It’s probably because I was trying to actually speak to you and I looked at you. And when they felt like they were spoken to, I guess, like they, you know, I paid attention to them perhaps. So, I thought that worked really, really, really well. So, I would say also to use humor possible in the beginning, that when you introduce yourself, when you want to relate to others, you can use a little humor. And at the very end, thank your audience for their time, or their attention. You know, time and attention, it’s something very, very valuable. You know, it’s something we can’t get back. Once you we spend that time on something, there is no way of getting that back. So, it’s very important to thank the people who have helped you create this presentation, to thank the audience who has been there with you, and to be grateful for their time. Okay.
So, I know that was quite a bit. I want to summarize, though, that I think the most important thing after this is changing your intentions, your mindset. Everything is about mindset, actually. If you are afraid of public speaking, the one thing that I want you to take away from this is to think it’s not about you, it’s about the audience. Again, I’ll repeat this once, it’s not about you, it’s about them. If you can just do this one thing, the next time you have to give a presentation or a talk or anything, then I think when you think about this in your brain, your heart, you will feel a little bit lighter, a little more relieved, more purposeful because all you’re doing is that you really want to help you want to contribute, you want to educate. And that’s what it’s all about, no matter what happens during a presentation, or your talk, if you make a mistake, if you don’t know a fact that you’re supposed to know, or if you forget something that you wanted to say, but you just didn’t mention it. Or you felt like you answer the question incorrectly. Or you thought you looked stupid, when you were trying to answer the questions. No negative self-talk, if you put all of your intentions into it, you have developed a purpose for it, you did the best you could, no negative self-talk. No matter what happens, it’s how it was meant to happen. And everything that happens that you thought was a mistake, view all of them as a lesson that you have learned. And now that you have learned it, you will remember it better. Or it’s something to trigger you to look up that information or that fact, or to think of a mitigation strategy so that it doesn’t happen in the future. There are not mistakes, there are all lessons. I really want you to get this. In terms of like, the mindset really is the most important to get over your fear is to not worry about what other people think of you and to only think about putting out your best intentions, for whatever purpose. After that, then create a story. Think about you know, surrounding the three points or the main points that you want to relate to them. If you can use a memory palace to help you remember, fantastic. And I would not put too many words on the slides, don’t read from the slides. Create more images. Create using more images and visuals, because that’s how we can remember things better. And I want you to practice at least three to five times high fidelity, standing, walking around, wearing your most professional clothing, or wearing whatever clothing that you’re supposed to wear during the presentation. And do it at the presentation site if possible, so that you can do it in that specific ambiance. Test your audiovisual. And then you come out and you wow them, you say hello, you wow them with your story, your introduction, a little humor and you looked at the camera if you’re doing it virtually or if you’re doing it in person, you pick one person out from each section of the audience to make direct eye contact so that the audience knows that you’re speaking to them. And after that, you thank the people, thank the audience. Just be grateful for their time after listening to you, for spending their energy and their attention on your talk.
And that’s all I have for today. I do want to thank you for your attention to my talk. My purpose is to really help you to get over that fear of public speaking and to help you become more effective speakers so that the people that you speak to that you can touch a ton more people after that. Okay, so I hope my message will spread to you and your message will spread to hundreds and thousands and millions of other people. And that’s my intention. That’s my purpose for this. Go to the show notes for the links of the courses I’ve taken before that’s really helped me. Please go to, itsnotrocketscienceshow.com. I also have a free gift on there that’s going to help you tremendously in terms of productivity. And I want you to remember that everything that we need is within us now. Thank you. Have a good day.
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