Without a doubt, the emotional seesaw of the keynote preparation cycle is seriously stressful. Often this stress manifests in comments like, “I don’t know why this is so hard for me. My boss (or spouse, colleague, friend, celebrity, recent TED talker) doesn’t stress out at all about their keynote.”
Here is my four-step response:
- “That’s Impressive.” It’s true, I do believe that about .05% of the population was born with a transcendent gift of oratory mastery. The other .05% of the people in this category have displayed tremendous fortitude and perseverance to achieve their effortlessness. You may never join this 1%. Can you live with that?
- “Maybe They Should Get Stressed.” Most presentations I see are mediocre, at best. Speakers forget the foundation of great public speaking – relevance and service to their audience. Their lack of preparation is a serious sign of audience disrespect. Really, a little stress might have helped their cause ( and definitely the presentation).
- “Overwhelm is normal…and temporary.” Every presentation is an intersection of your emotional, intellectual and physical self. This is demanding and hard work. The overwhelm you feel is not only totally normal, but it is temporary and will pass. Make this sentence your mantra through this phase.
- “There actually is a science to your own process.” I measure client success in two ways. The first is when you achieve your specific and stated goals for yourself, and most importantly, for your audience. The second is when you decode your very own, step-by-step process to craft, design, distill, and deliver a presentation. It is clear communication about what you think, who you are and why it matters to your audience. This is gold. And it is never a straight shot.