“It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” – Mark Twain

Public speaking is the number one fear in America. Death is number two. At one time or another, nearly every person has experienced the paralyzing fear, sweaty palms, racing thoughts and dry throat that accompany public speaking. If the opportunity comes as a surprise, then fear can heighten anxiety to an almost unmanageable situation. However, public speaking doesn’t have to be so intimidating. Here are some simple techniques to apply the next time you’re unexpectedly faced with the frightening situation and how to remain unscathed.

Mentally Prepare Yourself. The mind is the biggest battle. Don’t think negative thoughts or focus on how nervous you feel.  Instead, center your attention on what a great opportunity it is to have an audience that desires to hear what you have to say!

Talk From Experience. Can you relate the topic to a personal experience? People commonly feel more comfortable talking about familiar subjects. If you relate the topic to a recent experience, you will naturally speak with more assurance.

Act Confident.  When you stand tall with your shoulder blades back and down,  your chin up with a smile, you are telling the world around you that you are comfortable in your own skin. People are generally more persuaded by those who exude confidence. Also, don’t worry about speaking perfectly. The audience has no idea what you are about to say. If you stumble over your words, simply correct the mistake and move on!

Show Gratitude. Make a point to thank the person that has allowed you the opportunity to speak and be sure to thank the audience for their time and listening ear. This is a great way to avoid an awkward closing and will allow you to hand over the attention to the original spokesperson.

Remember, the more you push yourself to speak in front of others, the better you will become and the more confidence you will have. So relax, take a deep breath and get out there!

 

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