Maintaining a public speaking practice schedule while traveling is challenging, but also often more important than while at home. Traveling employees often have to deliver presentations to large groups, sometimes after long periods on the road where practicing is difficult. This can cause increased anxiety levels and means that a bit of creativity is required to seek out opportunities that will keep skills fresh and confidence levels high.
Three ways to practice public speaking while on the road:
1. Connect with any local (international) Toastmaster’s organization and volunteer to present a “Table Topic.”
Lucky for those who travel, Toastmasters is an international organization with close to 13,000 clubs in over 113 countries across the globe. This not only provides speakers the opportunity to practice speaking skills while on the road, but also presents a fantastic opportunity to network and meet great people while traveling solo.
Toastmaster’s meetings usually include a component called “Table Topics,” where members and guests can practice impromptu speaking for up to 2 minutes. Most clubs are very willing to provide out of town guests the opportunity to present a Table Topic, making this a great way to practice speaking while on the road.
To connect with a local club, search your location at:http://reports.toastmasters.org/findaclub/. After finding a club nearby, connect via email to introduce yourself, and ask about participating in a Table Topic at the next meeting.
2. Seek out social situations, such as large group dinners, and put yourself on the spot.
Speaking to a group in a social situation utilizes most of the same public speaking skills as delivering a more formal presentation. Many times social gatherings provide the opportunity for participants to either tell a story, such as over dinner conversation, or to participate in some kind of game that involves public speaking. In this way, social gatherings provide an excellent method for the traveling speaker to practice speaking while on the road.
To take advantage of this technique, seek out social situations by accepting dinner invitations, or planning a dinner and inviting coworkers or whoever else is around. The next step is to brainstrom topics or stories that would be appropriate to share, and then picking a moment when sharing will be challenging.
Use this method to practice delivering a short, structured speech by volunteering an opinion on a topic along with three supporting points of evidence.
3. When all else fails, pretend!
For speakers caught on the road with an impending presentation and building nerves, one of the best things to do is deliver a speech to a large audinece – in your mind. Picturing the actual audience and running through the speech exactly as planned is the next best thing to practicing with a live audience and will deliver many of the same benefits.
Speak in the volume appropriate for the speech location and use all other techniques such as body language and props, that will be used in the real presentation.
Overall, overcoming the fear of public speaking has many challenges, many of which are highlighted when traveling for work. Remember that the best strategy is practice, so seek it out where and when possible, and go forward with confidence built on preparation.