STAND TALL: Q&A with Speaker Sara KrisherOctober 31, 2017 | Career Management, MarCom Best Practices, Professional Development
We’ve all been there...speaking in front of a room full of people, all eyes and ears on you, your heart rate kicks up a beat, you suddenly are in desperate need of a drink of water, and oh yes...here’ comes that pesky perspiration right on cue.
As communicators and marketers, presenting at the front of the room is a valuable and necessary skill to have in your arsenal. It’s also very hard! Even the most confident of presenters experience a little stage fright from time to time. Whether presenting to peers, students, clients, or executive leadership, how can you better prepare yourself to not only stand in front of a room, but STAND TALL?
I reached out to Sara Krisher, guest speaker at our upcoming workshop, “Lead with Confidence from the Front of the Room,” for a Q&A on her background and some key take-aways from her experience as a seasoned public speaker.
Have you always been able to speak to groups?
No, when I was in high school I had to give a presentation to about fifty people and as I headed to the front of the room I felt I had an out of body experience. I wasn’t aware of anything I was saying and when I sat down afterwards I couldn’t recall any of it. The only proof I had that I did it was my mother next to me telling me I did a great job.
What do you believe contributed the most to growing confident at the front of the room?
Speech training was extremely helpful because I got to learn the technical aspects of what makes a good presenter. I was a good student however and in the end, I was robotic with my delivery. It took experience and being willing to experiment with the techniques I learned to realize the audience appreciates me most when I am my imperfect and goofy self. Now I know what it’s like to be authentic on stage and there’s comfort in knowing I don’t need to be anyone else. I accept my faults as well as my gifts and bring it all up there with me. I learned when you share your humanity, the audience can connect with you. When they connect with you, they can hear your message.
What has been your worst experience at the front of the room?
A few years ago, I had to deliver someone else’s presentation. There was a script and a full PowerPoint deck. I worked for weeks to make sure I could successfully deliver it. It was an hour long and had very specific elements which meant I almost had to memorize it. (Ok, I did memorize a lot of it.) The day finally came, and I got up in front of a room of fifteen people. Four sentences in I got hung up on a word. I couldn’t remember what came next. I paused for so long as I racked my brain trying to remember what came next. I ended up apologizing and starting over.
It was so embarrassing that I flew through the rest of the one-hour presentation in 45 minutes. I cried all the way home...I wanted to quit. I could’ve easily given up after that experience. After some time went by I understood what I was supposed to learn. Never memorize your speech and always craft the speech in your own way even if it’s given to you.
What has been your greatest experience at the front of the room?
This year I got to fulfill a bucket list item which was to speak internationally. I flew to Poland and delivered a speech to an International group of business and life coaches. There were 350 leaders from 62 different countries in attendance. The lights were so bright I could barely see passed the second row. I could feel the energy in the room. I was ready. They were with me and I could tell as they laughed at my jokes. I took my time and enjoyed every minute the experience.
What advice would you give to someone who is terrified to speak, and they can’t avoid it?
You are your most powerful when you are in the present. Find ways to be in the present moment which calms your mind and allows you to tap into your brilliance. I’ve created a list of 20 confidence boosters and one of them is to be curious. Being curious will keep your mind in question mode and have you noticing what’s in the here and now versus what could be or has been.
What is your favorite quote?
“Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Susan Jeffers
I like this quote because fear doesn’t have to have the last word. We can learn how to navigate with or around the fear. We get to choose.
Sara is a master trained coach and an experienced trainer, facilitator, and speaker. She develops talks and programs that not only inspire but empower. Register now to hear her speak on November 9, 2017, or click on the following links to get to know more about Sara.