Though summer has only just begun, some students may be planning to run for an election in the new school year. The summer is an excellent time to start thinking about it and practicing. Lisa B. Marshall, aka The Public Speaker, has some suggestions for the budding leaders in your life.
I recently received this email:
Dear Ms. Marshall,
I am thirteen years old and I want run for election at school. I really have a fear of speaking in public and I’m getting so nervous. There will be interviews and speeches. How should I convince people to vote for me?
First, I would like to congratulate you for having the courage to run for office, even though public speaking makes you so nervous! You have a great future, because you don’t let your fears rule you.
Here is an episode that I wrote for another 13-year-old who was looking to win a school election: And the Winner Is You.
To handle your nerves, I'd suggest practicing deep breathing techniques, which I explain in these episodes:
Here are some alternatives that create the same relaxation response. And here's something just for kids, which has some really creative ideas to help you relax in many situations. Pick a few of these ideas and give them a try. Sometimes one works better than another depending on the person.
In terms of preparing and delivering your speech, here is what I suggest:
Start with this one: The Secret to Great Public Speaking
Also, you might want to consider making a video or even looking for a speaking coach (it can be a family friend or teacher). Research shows this is the most effective way to overcome speaker's anxiety. For most people, working with a coach gives them confidence.
I would also use visualization to prepare for your interviews and speech.
Here are two episodes I wrote on visualization:
For kids, studies have shown that if you draw out the visualization using 5-10 sheets of paper (just using simple stick figures of you presenting at school), this will help you to reduce your anxiety. This is usually considered the second most effective technique, but everyone is different.
Finally, I would suggest you try power posing just before you interview and deliver your speech.
If you put these tips into practice, you will feel a whole lot better. This is definitely something you can do on your own, but having the support and help of others will certainly make it easier.
Good luck with the election and let me know how it goes.
This is Lisa B. Marshall changing organizations, changing lives, and changing the world through better communication. If you’d like to learn more about leadership, influence, and communication, I invite you to read my bestselling books, Smart Talk and Ace Your Interview and listen to my other podcast, Smart Talk. As always, your success is my business.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.