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Do you have a fear of public speaking? Lots of people, even accomplished speakers, do. But don’t let it stop you from giving a great speech. Here are some tips to help you get past the fear.
Prepare. Know what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. But don’t memorize or read your speech. Focus on the key points.
Get to know the audience. Mingle before your talk and meet a few people. If you already know some of them, that is a bonus.
Don’t open with a joke. As the saying goes, dying is easy, comedy is hard. Unless you are a professional comic, skip the jokes.
Don’t announce that you are nervous. The audience probably won’t notice, so don’t bring it to their attention.
Smile. You will feel more relaxed and confident with a smile on your face.
Talk to friendly faces. Find the people you met earlier and look at a few of them while you speak. Don’t stare, though. Move your gaze around the room.
Too uncomfortable to make eye contact with anyone? Look just above the heads of people in the audience. It will seem that you are making eye contact, even though you are not.
If you make a mistake or forget what comes next, stop and take a deep breath. You know your talk, so pausing for a moment will let you collect your thoughts and get back on track. Don’t keep talking, hoping that your brain catches up with your mouth.
Know how you are going to end. Don’t just stop talking and stand there. Close with a brief message that you want the audience to remember.
Remember that the audience wants your talk to go well, too. They are investing their time and attention and they are on your side. They are rooting for you, and so am I.