Public speaking is not easy. I discovered it the first day they made me say something in front of lot people. 2 years ago we as Immotionar made our first talk at the InternetOfThings event and Gianni at a certain point took the mic and put it in my hands… and I almost choked out. Not as Eminem in 8 mile… but I did say something like “eeeeh I’m…eeeh Antony… and we’ll talk about virtual reality…” and then immediately gave the mic back to Gianni, that was (and still is) more calm and experienced!

In this years lots of thing have changed and now I’m decent in having public speeches, so I can give some hints to you, hoping to be helpful to people that have to make one of their first speeches. So… bullet list of advices!

  • Start slowly: remember that old story about the frog and the boiling water? Well, I won’t be original, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Start just going on stage with other people talking, so you can get used to people looking at you, you start being used to have an audience. Then begin with small easy pitches, maybe with a friendly audience and then go on like this until you’ll be able to talk fluently even in front of a hostile audience (like investors, if you’re a startupper). For example, I started in the above-cited event, being only the beautiful VR hostess of Gianni the whole time 🙂
public speaking VR
Me and Gianni during the InternetOfThings day… my only purpose was to show others how I can play in VR… not that bad
  • Make rehearsals: especially if it is the first time that you are making a talk, just rehearse it at least 2-3 times, until you feel confident with it. When you’ll be on stage, you’ll feel lots of different emotions and having your brain work in auto-pilot mode will help you a lot. This helps because some moments where you’ll feel like forgetting what you’re going to say will surely happen and if you’ve clear in your head the structure of the talk, you won’t stop. One things that helps me during rehearsals is identifying some key-words that I know that I have to say during the talk… this helps me, because they’re like checkpoints that I know that I have to pass by, so I have a clear path to follow;
  • Simulate it: this is a point very close to the previous one, but I want to highlight it. One of the first times I had to talk with Gianni in front of a quite large audience (it was for the Faber Day award), I decided to give a try to Speech Center VR. I’m a VR guy, so the opportunity to try a VR application to become better at public speaking was something I couldn’t miss. At that time it was just a simple free app for GearVR (now it is a more complete ecosystem) that lets you see yourself on a stage in front of an hostile audience : lots of free seats, people just chatting, yawning, talking at the phone. Someone in the comments said that the public of the app is made of a**holes! I can confirm it… and listening to rumors the whole time while you’re speaking (phone ringtones, people laughing at you, etc…) is not that pleasant. In this app you can upload the slides of your pitch, then launch the app, select the speech environment and then start doing your actual pitch in front of the virtual audience. Trust me, that helped me a lot. Especially this app taught me to ignore all the noises that you can hear while you’re speaking. So, if you have an headset… give it a try;
speech center vr screenshot
This is what you see when you use Speech Center VR. Now imagine some annoying noises and you get the whole picture… damn audience, I hate you!
  • Use slides: if you can, talk with some support slides: they will help you to have a clear idea on what you have to say and will fix some key points in the mind of people. Especially in first pitches, this is crucial. Then, when you’ll be more experienced, you can also begin do some slide-free talks.

And this is the first list of tips. Tomorrow I’ll write some other tips (be sure to read them!)… so, be tuned… and in the meantime, like and share this article!