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Gary Vaynerchuk approaches a presentation the same way a boxer approaches a fight.
When stage time is eight minutes away, you wouldn’t be able to tell he’s about to give a talk, Vaynerchuk says in his new book “#AskGaryVee.” He’s just calmly going through his normal routine. But then exactly six minutes before, he gets into “a weird place.”
The outspoken CEO of VaynerMedia isn’t reviewing notes or repeating lines under his breath, but rather gets into a state of intense focus fueled by adrenaline, like a fighter about to walk to the ring.
“Then, right before I go out onstage, I think about punching every audience member directly in the mouth,” Vaynerchuk writes.
“I know it sounds strange, but I feel a weird mix of love and aggression for the people in the seats, because on one hand I’m so grateful for their presence and their support and interest, yet I’m also determined to send them away with a powerful message ringing in their ears.”
Rather than spend his time memorizing every word of a finely crafted speech, Vaynerchuk prepares the elements of his presentation based on what genuinely interests him, so that the emotions he expresses are real.
The secret to landing all of your punches, he says, is simple: Talk about what you know.
Vaynerchuk explains that the only way you’ll become a more engaging speaker is through practice and refinement of your technique, but the best technique won’t matter if you’re not “speaking from the heart and from experience.” The audience will easily see through acting or a weak grasp of a subject.
In an interview with Business Insider, Vaynerchuk said that despite all of the bravado and amusingly erratic behavior he’s known for on stage and in front of the camera, he’s quite collected and humble when doing business for his digital media company. It’s just that he understands the importance of the performance aspect of public speaking and wants to grab his audience and unleash what he’s got to say.
He says that his boxer analogy may not work for everyone, but he recommends that, regardless of your speaking style, you don’t let nervous energy force you to second-guess yourself in the final minutes leading up to your talk. You’ll risk throwing everything off. You don’t need to fantasize about punching out the guy in the front row, but use your nervous energy the same way a boxer does, feeling it empower you.
“The day you find yourself in this moment, have confidence in yourself and go with your plan,” he writes. “You’ve worked hard for this. You’re ready.”