Speaking in Public

According to a Gallup poll, the second thing that we fear the most is public speaking.

Snakes are first.

Some surveys put the fear of speaking ahead of the fear of death.

Heights, being closed in a small space, spiders, insects, needles, mice, flying, dogs, thunder and lightning, crowds, going to the doctor and the dark scare us less than getting up on our feet and speaking in public.

Yet we have to make presentations, interact with others in a group and can’t always avoid speaking in front of others.

I taught public speaking for years and this is what worked the best:

• Know the topic or material — earn the right to speak about it.
• Do exactly what you do when speaking to just one person.
• Look into their eyes.
• It never works when you try to be someone else such as a “public speaker”.
• Low voice, no problem. People will listen more intently to hear you.
• Forget what you were going to say, easy – review something you previously said and it will come to you.
• Put yourself in the audience’s place, put them at ease because the way you talk to them is the way they encourage you.
• And my favorite – think of you as giving those listening to you a gift (or humor, information, encouragement, etc.) and deliver it in your own way.

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