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Speech Anxiety…Manage It!


Each and every speaker, experiences some level of anxiety. When you are presenting new material or it’s a less than welcoming audience, nervousness naturally increases, irrespective of how much you have practiced. However, that rush of adrenaline can also give you the edge, the spark to project your ideas powerfully to your audience. As university professor and speech coach, Vincent Di Salvo states, “Your goal is not to get rid of the butterflies in your stomach, but to convince them to fly in formation.” What a great image and one that encourages picturing success.

There are unlimited resources to research tips to prepare for a presentation. It’s been my experience that when you simplify your approach and follow a check-list, you will be in control of the basics. The unexpected can always occur, but focus on what you can rather than what you cannot control. Sometimes the most interesting things happen as a result of the unplanned happenstance.

1. Research the audience, room layout and program specifics.

2. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Do not expect to wing-it. Openings and closings are the most important part of your speech.

3. Don’t memorize, with the exception of your opener. Speak from an outline of words and phrases. A memorized script sounds flat and if for any reason you lose your train of thought, it’s much harder to jump back in.

4. Concentrate on the audience. It will keep your attention out there.

5. Arrive early and circulate. Work the room! People will feel more connected to you as the speaker and it doesn’t hurt to see a few nods of encouragement as you begin.

Remember…the audience wants you to succeed!

• Take a brisk walk beforehand • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and milk • Find a private area and strike a power pose before you go on ©MWeisner2016

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