What can Ed Sheeran at Glastonbury teach you about how to approach Public Speaking?


What can Ed Sheeran at Glastonbury teach you about how to approach Public Speaking?

Did you see Ed Sheeran close Glastonbury on the Sunday night?

Maybe you loved the performance, perhaps hated it. Maybe you weren’t even remotely interested.

Love him or loathe him, from a money-making business perspective he’s clearly doing something right. He’s mastered the art of audience connection.

If you want to connect with an audience in your business but are held back by public speaking nerves here are three things you can take away from Ed Sheeran at Glastonbury

Transform your Nerves

The first thing Ed Sheeran said when he came on stage was that he was “nervous but really excited”. In those few seconds, he re-framed his nerves. Speaking out loud he mentally shifted his nerves from being negative to being a positive feeling.

If you get those feelings of a racing heart, nausea and sweaty palms at the thought of having to stand up and pitch or present, these 3 simple steps can help transform your nerves:

  1. Observe that you are nervous. Usually pretty easy if you experience nerves physically but not always the case if they are lurking in your mind.
  2. Accept your nerves. They are a natural physical reaction that originated in caveman times to remind us to run when faced with a sabretooth tiger. The tigers may have gone now but we all still get the physiological sensations of nerves. I know I do. Professional speakers do. And anyone who says they don’t is either lying or doesn’t really care about their speaking subject or their audience.
  3. Re-frame your nerves. Instead of seeing them as a negative holding you back, see them as a signal that you are ready and raring to make the most of the opportunity and excited about sharing your knowledge, ideas or insights. Next time you watch a race interview with an athlete notice how they often talk about being really excited before a race – they positively prep their mind to see themselves achieving their goal.

Don’t Disastrophise!

Ed Sheeran carried on with his set even when things went wrong. Most of us probably weren’t aware that he had numerous broken guitars until someone came on from backstage with a replacement for him. He didn’t stop or tell us, he just kept playing.

The most common fear I deal with is the belief that the whole experience will be a humiliating disaster. The most common ways to “disastrophise” are imagining that we will forget our words, or miss chunks out of a presentation and the audience will sit there thinking we are useless.

Here are two great tips to stop disastrophising before it starts:

  1. Remember - unless you tell the audience, they will have no idea if you miss out a bit of your presentation. Only you know what comes next and what you are saying. (If you jumped from the opening line to the last sentence they might realise, but then at least you’d have a spontaneous way to add some great humour and an easy excuse to simply start again).
  2. If you forget a word, pause, take a deep breath and have a drink of water. You buy yourself some remembering time and the audience simply sees you having a natural break. This also allows them to process the last idea you spoke about while you have a drink. What better way to show that you are in control of your speaking and how your audience receives that information.

Accept the Gig

Say yes to the presentation. Agree to lead the meeting. See it as an exciting opportunity, not a potential disaster scenario.

Ed Sheeran didn’t need to say yes to Glasto. There were risks involved - the media didn’t think he was up to it, he didn’t need the exposure, he was already doing very nicely thank you. But he made the decision to step up. I bet he doesn’t regret it.

You never know if you never try.

Do let me know if you are thinking of stepping up and saying yes to a speaking opportunity. And if you do I’d love to know how it went!

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