A few years ago, I worked with a group of very talented senior barristers at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. At the end of an intensive week practising advanced advocacy skills, they were to put them to use in a ‘mock trial’. Everyone was palpably nervous.
On that day, I had a brief interaction with a very skilled barrister from South Africa, who was standing in the corridor about to step into the ‘mock’ courtroom.
I asked him: “Are you nervous?”
He replied; “I am not nervous for myself but I have a deep respect for what I am about to do and what I need to say, and I want to do justice to that.”
His wisdom struck me.
Speaking publicly is about a deep respect for the spirit of the message, the people involved and the process you are in.
By removing himself from the equation, he was able to focus on the task at hand and channel his energy into the message and its impact. This helped him stay true to his preparation without slipping into the irrelevant chatter or defences of his own ego or the attachment to success.
By connecting to a deeper purpose and something that touches your spirit, you will find firmer ground, inspired motivation and single-minded resolve when you step into the moment of speaking.