Lessons from Charlie & The King

Have you ever been nervous about speaking in front of a group? (Just ask Charlie Sheen how he felt in Detroit).

The fact is, on many lists the fear of public speaking is well before fear of heights and even fear of death.

At the opposite end from Charlie’s train wreck, The King’s Speech is a beautiful story about someone stepping into their full power. And truly, if you know your subject matter, power and confidence can carry you through.

Even seasoned professional speakers can lose their mojo at times.

Certainly a rough engagement or an unfavorable review can shake your confidence.  Heck, the economy shook some of the most successful speakers to their core just a year or two ago!

Perhaps you’ve got the “speech of your career” coming up in front of the largest, most important group to date. What’s a person to do when dealing with nerves?

1. PREPARATION. I read an article that said “the more you prepare the worse you will do”. I disagree. When you know your material inside and out you are positioning yourself for success. What you really want is to have it so ingrained that it comes out sounding more like a conversation than a speech. And for the seasoned pro who may have lost their mojo, preparing new material will help re-ignite the flame that may have gone out during the storm. There is nothing more powerful than fully immersing yourself in new content.

2. GET BACK ON THE HORSE.  When you’ve had a setback, the key is to get back up. No matter what you think about Charlie Sheen, after bombing in Detroit, he got back on the stage in Chicago and that took some serious guts.  Ask any professional speaker and they will tell you about the time they bombed.  We’ve all had a bad speech and it takes some courage to take the stage again, but you must.

3. BREATHE. My former boss, Olympian Vince Poscente always talked about the power of oxygen getting to the brain when getting ready to go into a high stakes race/speech/meeting. Taking 10 deep breaths helps you relax, but also keeps the brain working at high efficiency.

4. STEP UP. Tony Robbins used to do a powerful piece in his weekend events where he would challenge his audiences to “step up”. We repeated it so often during the weekend that the term “step up” still has a powerful effect on me. Stepping up means being your most powerful. The best version of you. A thought leader.

And in The King’s Speech that’s exactly what needed to occur for King George VI to get through his first war time broadcast. It was a goose bump moment. If you haven’t seen the movie, I believe it’s a “must see” for all speaking professionals.

See you soon Wealthy Speakers!

  • In no other discipline would anybody say “the more the practice the worse you perform”, but you are right that it is used with public speaking.

    Was a good movie and I wrote a couple of articles around the main points, one focused on overcoming fears of public speaking. Read the article at http://www.oneminutepresenter.com/2011/03/the-king-size-fears-of-public-speaking/

    As Charlie would say, once you overcome your fears, its all about “winning!”

    All the best,
    Warwick John Fahy
    Author, The One Minute Presenter