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Public Speaking


1. Know your material. Pick a topic you are interested in. Know more about it than you include in your speech. Use humor, personal stories and conversational language – that way you won’t easily forget what to say.

2. Practice. Practice. Practice! Rehearse out loud with all equipment you plan on using. Revise as necessary. Work to control filler words; Practice, pause and breathe. Practice with a timer and allow time for the unexpected.

3. If you haven’t spoken publicly in a while and feel rusty, watch videos of speakers that have shots taken from the speaker’s vantage point, where you can see what it's like to face the audience. 

4. Know the room. Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and any visual aids.

5. Relax. Begin by addressing the audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Pause, smile and count to three before saying anything. ("One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. Pause. Begin.) Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm.

6. Visualize yourself giving your speech. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confident. Visualize the audience clapping – it will boost your confidence.

7. Realize that people want you to succeed. Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. They’re rooting for you.

8. Don’t apologize for any nervousness or problem – the audience probably never noticed it.

9. Concentrate on the message – not the medium. Focus your attention away from your own anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience.

10. Write how you talk. We don't talk the way we write. Written work can sound stuffy and pompous when being read. Sentences with numerous sub-clauses may look great in an essay, but aren't easily followed in a speech. Besides, why should people sit and hear what they could more easily read? What do you add to prose by speaking it aloud?

11. Don't do a brain dump. Think about what you're saying; don't go into automatic gear so that you become unstoppable. Be flexible.

12. Smile a lot. It’s contagious.  Always start the presentation with a big smile and set cues for yourself to smile at least every five minutes.  The more people smile, the more positive they will be in general (and with your reviews). It also helps to keep people awake.

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