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Practice Management > Building Your Business

9 more steps to public-speaking success

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Did you know the average person ranks the fear of public speaking higher than the fear of death? And yet overcoming this fear can be the key to a long and successful career.

In business, it’s essential to be able to get your point across. Whether we’re giving a formal presentation to a large audience or asking our bosses for a promotion, speaking skills are essential to getting ahead in life.

Here are nine more tips for overcoming your fear of public speaking:

1. Relax

When you let go of stress and relax, it eases your body and makes you appear less tense. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your audience will be.

2. Don’t over-think the audience’s reaction

There is always going to be audience member yawning or talking on the phone. Just remember that there will always be people who are bored or tired. None of these audience reactions has anything to do with you personally.

3. Slow down

Talking too quickly during a speech interferes with your breathing patterns. If you talk too fast, you’ll breathe less, and feeling short of breath could cause you to panic. Practice slowing down when you speak and you’ll be much more relaxed.

4. Make your nervous energy work for you

Learn to channel your nervous energy into positive energy. Being nervous is a form of adrenaline. You can use it in a positive way to help give an impassioned speech.

5. Pay any price to learn to speak well

Make a decision right now that you want to learn to speak well. Be willing to pay any price and go to any lengths to achieve your goal. Make it a priority.

6. Meditate 5 minutes a day

Meditating can help clear your head of negative thoughts. In an article in Forbes magazine, Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America, discusses his public speaking anxiety and how meditating for 5 minutes a day helped him eradicate his fear.

7. Get paid

The typical compensation for a public speaking event is $4,500 to $7,500. Public speaking can be a great source of income.

8. Acknowledge your success

Take pride in your work. Remember: You are your worst critic. When you finish a speech or deliver a presentation, give yourself a pat on the back. You have overcome your fears.

9. Develop a plan to improve your next speech

Practice makes perfect. If there’s a video of your speech, watch it and make notes on how you can improve on it for next time. Ask yourself:

    • How did I do?
    • Are there areas in which I could improve?
    • Did I seem stiff or make any weird facial expressions?
    • Did I use PowerPoint to my advantage? Did it help?
    • Did I say “um” too often?
    • How was my rhythm?

I have seen businesspeople leapfrog over others in their careers by overcoming their fear of public speaking. The better you become at speaking in public, the farther you will go in your career. Write everything down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you too can banish your fear of public speaking.

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