1. So, you to give a speech – and you’re terrified. You get nervous, you forget what you want to say, you stumble over words. You talk too long, and you bore your audience. Later you think, “thank goodness, it’s over. I’mjust no good at public speaking. I hope I never have to do that again.”
2. Cheer up! It doesn’t have to be that bad. Here are some simple steps to take the pain out of speech-making. First of all, it is important to plan. Do your homework. Find out everything you can about your subject. And, at the same time, find out as much as you can about your audience. Who are they? What do they know aboutyour subject? Do they have a common interest? Why are they coming to hear you speak? Put yourself in their shoes as you prepare your speech.
3. Ask yourself the purpose of your speech. What is the occasion? Why are you speaking? Are you introducing another speaker? Moderating a discussion? Giving a lecture? Convincing someone? There are many possible speaking roles, and each one has its ownspecial characteristics. Make sure you know into which category you fit. Don’t spoil your speech by confusing one speaking role with another.
4. Let us suppose that you have been asked to introduce the main speaker at a conference. First, find out the most important and interesting things about the speaker. Then, summarize this information in a few remarks. It is all right to tell a joke or ananecdote if it is in good taste and will not embarrass the speaker. And, most important, be brief. Remember, you are not the main speaker; you are introducing the main speaker.
5. If you are a moderator, you should begin by giving a quick introduction of the people on the panel. After that, you should try to keep the discussion running smoothly, and you should try to focus on the connectionsbetween speakers. Keep yourself in the background. Don´t talk too much, and don´t interrupt the panelist. Be tactful and be considerate.
6. If you are giving a lecture or explaining an idea gather as many facts as you can on your subject. Spend plenty of time doing your research. Then spend plenty of time organizing your material so that your speech is clear and easy to follow. Use as manyexamples as possible, and use pictures, charts, and graphs if they will help you make your points more clearly. Never forget your audience. Don´t talk over their heads, and don´t talk down to them. Treat your audience with respect. They will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
7. If you are trying to sell something, you will need to convince your audience. Do you want them to vote for candidate a? Areyou offering them a new, improved toothbrush? This kind of speech is usually dramatic, but here too; you must do your research and know you facts.
8. When you are making your speech, try to relax. Speak slowly and clearly and look at people in your audience. Use simple vocabulary and expressions whenever possible. Pause for a few seconds now and then to give your audience a chance to thinkabout what you have said. Make sure that everyone in the room can hear you. If it is a larger room or an auditorium, you will probably have to use a microphone.
9. Just remember: be prepared. Know your subject, your audience, and the occasion. And be yourself. Let your personality come through so that you make person-to-person contact whit your audience.
10. If you follow these simplesteps, you’ll see that you don´t have to be afraid of public speaking. In fact, you may find the experience so enjoyable that you volunteer to make more speeches! You´re not convinced yet? Give it a try and see what happens.
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