We’ve said that one of the benefits of How to Talk to (Almost) Anyone About (Almost) Anything: Public Speaking for Non-Public Speakers is the very practical, down-to-earth advice that she imparts –advice that’s equally good for experienced speakers and newcomers. Here’s a taste from a chapter titled “Antidotes for Wobbly Knees and Sweaty Palms:”
Remove any coins or keys from your pockets before you speak so you are not tempted to jingle or play with them. Likewise, unless you are using them for emphasis, avoid having a pen or pencil nearby lest you tap and distract the audience. If there is no speaker’s stand, have a table close on which to put your speech so that you can slide each page to one side unobtrusively.
Although you should have sent the host your current biographical sketch, bring along another in the likelihood t he or she has neglected to take it to the event and was planning to “wing it.” In either case, by making sure the introductory remarks say just what you want said to this particular audience, you start off on the proper note.
After you are introduced, take as much time as you need to arrange yourself and your speech comfortably at the podium. Smile in a friendly way and look around slowly at the audience. It may seem like an interminable time before all those faces come into focus, but it will most likely be only a scant second or two. Be confident you are in charge and they have nowhere to go.