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How to give a speech they really want to hear

Ever had one of those days?
Cartoon by Caryn Colgan

Confidence Equals Competence

Have you ever heard a keynote speaker who impressed you so much you knew before he even opened his mouth he was an expert on the topic? Have you ever seen a woman walk on stage and “felt” her confidence?

When you see someone who appears confident you probably also assume he or she is also competent. Conversely, if you observe people who seem insecure, you are less likely to immediately trust them or their message.

When you are that speaker, your audience will likely assume you don’t know what you are talking about or don’t believe what you are telling them. They will uncomfortably watch your body language and eyes rather that really listen to your message.

Don’t bombard them with the wrong message. Project confidence so they won’t be distracted by unnecessary and contradictory messages. Impress them with your confidence so they will take thy action you want them to take. Make them believe you and your message by projecting confidence.

Imagine Confidence

Self-talk is the most powerful tool you possess. The words you speak in your head either set you up for success or failure… What you say is up to you. You can let your words control you or you can control your words. It’s completely up to you.

I have led hundreds of workshops that involve participants giving presentations as part of the program. In almost every class, some of the people say things like, “Research shows that people are more afraid of public speaking than death” or “I’ve never liked speaking in public” or “I hate giving presentations.”

What you believe you create. Your mind is the master of your feelings and actions. If you tell yourself you can’t do it, you can’t. When you tell yourself you are afraid, you will be.

Never again be your own enemy by setting yourself up for failure. You deserve much better than that and so does your audience. A better approach is to follow these ten steps for public speaking success.

10 Steps to Success

1. Stop telling people you are afraid of public speaking or giving presentations

2. Write the speech out in its entirety

3. Practice giving the speech with the script

4. Write keywords on white (not neon colored) index cards

5. Practice giving the speech using the index cards

6. If using PowerPoint, type keywords only into the notes section

7. Practice giving the speech and using appropriate gestures and pauses

8. Place a timer or clock where you can glance at it to stay within time limit

9. Deliver a dry run to an impartial audience and make adjustments

10. Breathe

A business professional that is confident at public speaking and giving presentations is much more likely to be perceived as competent. Who would you rather promote: the timid, insecure but competent person or the one who is equally competent but presents him or herself with poise and confidence?

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