How You Do It?

Kaitlin Ritchie, Senior Editor

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There are very few things that are considered easy; and public speaking, for most people, is not one of them.  Public speaking requires a certain set of skills that very few people have.  However, one can learn these skills through intense training and education, or maybe just some development of good habits.

Here are the weapons to completely annihilate public speaking in a good way:

  1. Practice, practice, practice! The best speakers practice their speech before giving it. Practicing talking not only helps you absolutely know the material, but it shows where you need improvement.
  2. Eat well and burn off cortisol. Moving your mouth and projecting your voice requires energy, so eat food full of protein before giving a presentation.  Cortisol is your body’s stress hormone.  By exercising 1-3 hours before speaking, you will have burned off some stress, allowing better focus.
  3. Don’t open with an excuse. Opening with an excuse will not change whether your presentation or speech is good or how well the audience receives it.
  4. Don’t recite word for word. While memorizing what you have put in your speech or presentation is a good thing, you need to understand what you have prepared.  Don’t sound like a robot by reciting it exactly word for word; be expressive.
  5. Don’t let your first mistake get to you. Everyone makes mistakes, especially when nervous.  However, don’t settle or beat yourself up about making a mistake, just see it as a sign to relax and calm down.
  6. Make it personal. People generally like hearing stories from other people, especially if it is interesting.  Stories are perfect to use if they tie perfectly into your speech/presentation.
  7. Change that nervous energy into positivity. Sweaty palms, fast heartbeats and neck tension can be signs of nervousness, but it can also be signs of excitement.  If you aren’t excited about what you are speaking about, then the audience won’t be excited either.
  8. Pause often and speak slowly. While speaking, pause for a duration of about three to five seconds.  This will allow you to collect yourself and the audience to snap back and wonder why you stopped.  Speak slowly; it is beneficial for both you and the audience.  You will be better understood by the audience if you allow yourself time to prepare for your next words.
  9. Emphasize key points. What are you trying to get across to the audience most? Repetition is key for memorization.  When you repeat it so many times, the audience is bound to have gotten it.
  10. Incorporate humor. Everyone likes a good chuckle or two.  It will keep the audience engaged, especially if they don’t know the next time you’ll say something funny.

If you practice and incorporate these tips into your next presentation or speech, you are bound for success, my friend.

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How You Do It?