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7 Ways to Make Speaking Easier
by Barbara Rocha


If you're not one of the 3 people in your company who actually likes to give presentations, how do you deal with giving one?

If the pen slips out of your sweaty hand every time you try to organize your presentation, if guzzling orange juice doesn't remove the cotton from your mouth, if your knees give you false earthquake reports when you're speaking, read on.

Here are 7 tips for making it easier to enjoy speaking:

1. Humor yourself. The next time someone says to you, "You're making a presentation at the next Board meeting," say "Thank you for telling me. I'll be happy to do that."

This takes a little practice. Practice saying it to yourself occasionally so you can say it relatively spontaneously when the moment comes. It works. Amazing, but true.

2. Consciously choose not to be nervous. Take charge of your thinking - you have more control than you think.

You can choose to think about how much you hate speaking, OR, you can choose to think about why they need to hear what you have to say.

3. Get a grip - on your subject, that is. Don't wait until the last minute. Save needless suffering by focusing for a few minutes as soon as you get the assignment.

Spend about 15 uninterrupted minutes deciding what you want the audience to do after you talk to them. State it in a single complete sentence. Then you can follow your usual approach of not thinking about it until the last minute. By that time, you'll have effortlessly collected most of the information you need.

4. Set yourself up for success. Give yourself a "jump start." Open with a piece of the topic that appeals to you that's appropriate for this audience.

First, if you're interested in it, they probably will be, too. And, second, if you're that interested, you'll look forward to telling them. It will be easier for you to remember, too.

5. Use everyday conversational language that's natural to you. Business people are human. Just under the surface of that business suit, lies a human being. Don't bore them with the usual business words. This is another way to make it easier for you to remember what you want to say.

6. Refocus whenever you need to. If you panic from time to time, refocus from yourself to your purpose. Remember why your audience needs to know what you're going to be telling them, and get yourself out of the way; do this every time you have nervous symptoms. Especially in the middle of the night. Or in the middle of your presentation.

7. Don't start talking until your brain is fully functioning. The audience will wait for you. And they won't think you're a loser. Better to feel in control of your thinking, than to get started feeling off balance and out of control.

You'll have a lot more poise and polish if you coordinate your mind and mouth before saying anything.

Follow these suggestions and you'll gradually become confident, calm, and convincing. You can be one of those 3 people who enjoys giving presentations.