Seven Principles of Effective Public Speaking
1. Perception: Stop trying to be a great “public” speaker. People want to listen to someone who is interesting, relaxed, and comfortable. In the routine conversations we have every day, we have no problem being ourselves. Yet too often, when we stand up to give a speech, something changes. We focus on the “public” at the expense of the “speaking.” To become an effective public speaker, you must do just the opposite: focus on the speaking and let go of the “public.” Think of it as a conversation between you and the audience. If you can carry on a relaxed conversation with one or two people, you can give a great speech. Whether your audience consists of two people or two thousand and whether you’re talking about the latest medical breakthrough or what you did today at work, be yourself; talk directly to people and make a connection with them. 2. Perfection: When you make a mistake, no one cares but you. Even the most accomplished public speaker will make a mistake at some point. Just keep in mind that you’ll notice more than anyone in your audience. The most important thing a speaker can do after making a mistake is to keep going. Don’t stop and—unless the mistake was truly earth shattering—never apologize to the audience for a minor slip. Unless they are reading the speech during your delivery, the audience won’t know if you left out a word, said the wrong name, or skipped a page. Because “to err is human,” a mistake can actually work for you, because it allows you to connect with your audience. People don’t want to hear from someone who is “perfect;” they will relate much more easily to someone who is real. 3. Visualization: If you can see it, you can speak it.
Winners in all aspects of life have this in common: they practice visualization to achieve their goals. Sales people envision themselves closing the deal; executives picture themselves developing new ventures; athletes close their eyes and...
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