SL010: The Rehearsal Is The Work – Overcoming A Fear Of Public Speaking

In actor Michael Caine’s autobiography he shared a great piece of advice on overcoming a fear of public speaking that is encapsulated by the phrase “The Rehearsal Is The Work”. In today’s episode of The Speakers Life I’m in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and sharing ideas on how to be relaxed when speaking on stage.


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Hi, it’s James Taylor. He a keynote speaker on creativity, innovation and artificial intelligence and the founder of SpeakersU. Today I’m in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia I would just speaking and event here yesterday and a question I’m sometimes asked by people come up to me afterwards. And they said to me, James, you look so natural on stage, it looks like this The easiest thing in the world for you being up there speaking. So I want to talk to you about how to look relaxed, how to be relaxed on stage when you’re giving your presentation, so you can give you your best possible speech The other day I was reading a book is by Michael Caine. And it’s the book is called Blue, the bloody doors off, I just want to be famous phrases. And in that book, he said something really interesting that I think could be applied not just to actors, but also to professional speakers. And in that quote, that line he said, he said these words, he said, rehearsal is the work performance is the the relaxation. So repeat again. So he said, rehearsal is the work performance is the relaxation. And I when I read that, I totally understood what he meant. Because let’s take the event I just did. For example, the reason I was able to look very relaxed on stage is because I done so much preparation in advance in terms of different preparation I personally do I’ll have an event with the client was called a pre event co where we just can go through a checklist, I have to make sure that I really understand what the objectives are of the client and what the goals are, who the audience is going to be at that particular day.

Then while also do is I will research the client itself, I’ll do my own primary research, I’ll often run the the organization I’m speaking to, in their social media accounts through an artificial intelligence to give me a little bit more of a psychometrics of the audience at the same time, and then I actually go into writing and building the speeches self and I have to get to a point any speech doesn’t matter what the speech is that I can rehearse that I can give that speech in my sleep, it doesn’t matter whether I’m if I’m jet lag, I might have a cold and it may be really tied, it doesn’t matter when I hit the stage, it almost needs to just be it just needs to just come, I just know I don’t need to think about the words I need to know your lines as an actress. So I need to know it so well, I also need to know it to the point where if I’m using some type of visual presentation that that I don’t have to rely on the slides because the technology can sometimes fail sometimes things can go wrong. So I need to be able to know that the speech so well, it doesn’t require me looking any slides and quietly having any kind of visual prompts I could, I could give that speech in my sleep. That means that when I go up on stage, I could be completely relaxed because I can then react to what the audience is doing, I can feel the energy on the stage and just really be in the moment be present the idea presentation being present. Another couple of little tips for how to be more relaxed on stage is I highly recommend doing some type of physical work in the morning for me as yoga so I can just relax my body so my mind is already pretty relaxed because I know what I’m going to be saying I know my speech I know inside out by also need to work on my body. And that requires things that I do yoga, for example, somebody would like to go for a run in the morning or nice walk, just really just relax into your day if you can, ideally you want to get to the event the day before, if you’re if you’re speaking early in the morning, especially for international speech. Another thing you could do is look after your voice in the morning I’ll be doing my my warm up exercises vocal exercises in the shower. But you can already hear my voice is now I haven’t done any exercises this morning, unfortunately. So you can already hear a little bit deeper a little bit can grab their just now. So warm up your body warm up your voice if you especially if you’re going to speak first thing in the morning. So that’s that’s my advice for you. In order to be relaxed on stage, you have to prepare that the rehearsal is the work that’s the thing you really need to spend a huge amount of time working in developing. No one’s ever going to see any of that work that’s behind the scenes as backstage essentially. So when you get up on stage the performance is the relaxation you should enjoy it relax you should just be in the moment be present. So from here in Riyadh, the kind of gave me a beautiful award here last night as well. beautiful country. I’m looking forward to going slowly in the country. today. I wish you all the best with your your own speaking. My name is James Taylor. Thanks for watching.

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