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Top 7 Steps to Better Public Speaking

Whether you want to be a part time, full time or BIG time speaker you must speak, speak, speak. At first, deliver 25-30 minute free talks to service clubs and community organizations. Consider it to be your off-Broadway tryout. A great opportunity to fine-tune your program - and maybe get some future paid business!

Do the following to put at ease when delivering a speech:

1. Your speech needs a beginning, middle, and end. You must grab your audience's attention in the first minute'so begin with a starting comment, question, story, or humor. End your speech on a strong note by asking a question, providing a quote, tell a story or leave them laughing.

2. Every 5-7 minutes, back up your facts with signature (about you or others) stories. Stories are out there ' everywhere. Find them in the stores, at restaurants, on the airplane, at home. People retain information better when hearing a story.

3. Practice your speech out load. Record it on to a tape recorder and/or video camera. Also do this when giving a program to a live audience. Do it every time!

4. Practice pausing before and after important points. Don't be afraid to leave open space. The use of silence is a key requirement to becoming an effective speaker.

5. Use direct eye contact. You can focus on one person when making a point - and everyone else in the audience will think you are speaking to them also.

6. Don't just stand behind the lectern: move around, gesture. Be animated. (Fifty-five percent of how people perceive you is by body language; 38 percent by your voice; 7 percent by your words)

7. Smile a lot. Be enthusiastic about what you are saying. And have fun.

©2004 by Sandra Schrift. All rights reserved


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