Thursday, April 21, 2011

How to Eliminate Your Fear of Speaking

How to Eliminate Your Fear of Speaking
Dr. Stephen Jones
Deciding to become a speaker can be one of the most exciting aspects of a professional’s career. It’s amazing how something so enjoyable can ignite fear at the same time. Your fears can come from many different directions. Some speakers feel overwhelmed by the size of their audience while others feel pressured in a smaller setting. Fear can come from not really knowing your audience or from feeling unprepared. Other times looking at all of the other presenters in the conference can increase your desire to be perfect. Some speakers say it’s difficult to identify the reasons for their fears.

The key is identifying ways to reduce your fears and anxieties. I always say a little anxiety is healthy. It acts as the adrenaline that propels you to have a successful speech. There are people who are sitting in the audience who want you to succeed. They selected you to provide a challenging message that will cause them to take action. They are excited to have you as their guest speaker.

There are some steps that you can take to overcome your fears. One of the most important activities that you can do is practice. When you practice you can clarify the direction of your speech. When your speech is well organized people will be able to follow your major points. You can overcome your fears by doing the following:
1. You can quietly use deep breathing exercises before you give your speech. It will calm you down.
2. If possible go to the room where you will give the presentation and practice your presentation.
3. Focus on the smiling faces in your audience.
4. Identify a coach who can give you positive feedback when you are preparing for your speech.
5. Practice, practice, practice
6. Find a good environment that’s free of clutter to review your speech
7. Don’t tell the audience you are nervous
8. Expect success before your speaking event actually happens

Your speech has tremendous potential to be everything that you desire. Start with a positive confession indicating the good results you expect to happen when you speak. Allow yourself to be relaxed and in a state of confidence. Remember it’s time to take action steps that will help you to overcome your fears. There are a lot of things that you will need to do to get ready for your presentation. You should be innovative in the way that you approach your speech. You can be creative if you do not wait until the last minute to prepare. Remember you are the expert on your topic.

Your confidence will increase as you invest time to research the organization that asked you to speak. Some presenters feel trapped because they have not asked for enough information from the conference leaders. It’s good to get the history of the organization. You want to know how the organization has maintained success over the years. Good preparation should be a part of your plan to reduce your fears and inspire your listeners. You should be well equipped to make small changes that will make your message clear.

One of the secrets to overcoming your fears is involving your audience at the very beginning of your presentation. You can make a connection with them by sharing a story that demonstrates how you are connected. It’s amazing how your audience will connect with you when they feel that you are in their corner. Before you give your presentation take the time to listen to other motivational speakers. Listening to others will raise your feelings that you can deliver a great speech.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

How to Write an Effectice Speech

Once you’ve received the official notice that you are the keynote speaker it’s time to prepare for your speech. One of the biggest challenges is deciding how to get started. Too many presenters wait until the last minute to put their speech on paper. Even seasoned speakers can fall into this trap. You need to write a speech that will engage the audience and leave them with a greater pursuit of excellence. The important part of writing is staying true to your values and the personal philosophy that distinguishes you.

Your audience will be the best guide for your speech. Ask the person who invited you to speak to give you additional background regarding their organization. Then write an outline of important points that you want to include in your speech. You can fully engage your audience by making a commitment to understanding their important issues. Here are some of the key steps you must follow when writing your speech.

1. Start with a speech outline
2. Using a story to establish a connection with your audience at the beginning of your speech
3. Use active verbs in your speech
4. Express enthusiasm and smile when practicing the delivery of your speech
5. Practice your speech with a smaller audience
6. Memorize the stories that you’ve written and practice them orally
7. Devote yourself to writing quotes in your speech
8. Search the internet and review the writings of other famous speakers
9. End your speech with an inspiring conclusion

Speaking gives you a tremendous opportunity to convey a powerful message. It takes organization. When possible try to include a statistic that the audience would like to know. It is one of the best ways to generate conversations amongst members of your audience. Sharing a statistic can also help you to present yourself as an expert.

Writing an effective speech requires creativity. You can conduct your own brain storming session with friends and colleagues. Ask someone to read your document and give you their feedback. Identify someone who you trust. Select someone who will offer sound advice about your speech. They may suggest other words that will help you to connect with your audience. Audiences like to have a picture of what you are saying in their thoughts.

Don’t wait until the last minute to write your speech. This is the same advice that I’ve given to thousands of professionals and students. Some people say they are more productive under pressure. It’s better to have time to reflect on your words and ideas. Taking time to organize a timeline for the completion of your speech will give you a chance to make changes. You may want to try different words and think about the impact of what you are going to say. You also want to be able to add stories that fit into your speech. All of this preparation may take more than a month to research. It’s best to give yourself and your audience a speech that is well planned and relevant to their conference or event.

The ability to write your best speech is your choice. It will require devotion to the craft of writing. Tell your audience something that is important and valuable to them. Demonstrate how much you care by what you write down and express during your presentation. People can tell when something you’ve written comes from the heart. The goal of a good speech is to touch people’s lives and inspire change. Today is the best time to prepare your speech. Enjoy the journey.

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