People all around the world are afraid to speak in front of large crowds. Some studies have shown that the fear of public speaking ranks up there with the fear of death and is one of the leading fears among Americans. Organizations such as Toastmasters International and training courses in public speaking help reduce the fear to a manageable level.
Toastmasters International is a non-profit organization that has been dedicated to helping people conquer their fear of public speaking since 1924.
1. Know your material: Pick a topic you are interested in. Know more about it than you include in your speech. Use humor, personal stories and conversational language - that way you won't easily forget what to say.
2. Practice. Practice. Practice!: Rehearse out loud with all the equipment you plan on using. Revise as necessary. Work to control filler words. Practice with a timer and allow time for the unexpected.
3. Know the audience: Greet some of the audience members as they arrive. It's easier to speak to a group of friends than to strangers.
4. Know the room: Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and any visual aids.
5. Relax: Begin by addressing the audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Pause, smile and count to three before saying anything. (One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. Pause. Begin.) Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm.
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