Public speaking … just for laughs

Q. People can give me all the tips in the world about how to control my nerves before a speech, but they never seem to take. Want to take a crack at one?

A. Ha! Well, maybe you haven’t heard this one before: Go out there on stage with the goal of having the most fun you can. Forget about audience expectations, rules, constraints. Play out in your mind what would comprise the most entertaining way for you to go about delivering that information, and then do it. Tell yourself you’re not there for some group to scrutinize—you’re there to enjoy yourself. Make yourself laugh, play in the sandbox. And if you really can’t stop worrying about screwing up, keep in mind that people like seeing others’ foibles; it makes them feel better about themselves. Embrace those moments where your flaws show, because they’re making you more endearing.