Many people say that the can not speak in front of others because they are too nervous-being nervous is not a bad thing. We connect being nervous with something negative because we were nervous when we were in a bad situation. Standing in the Principals office for instance is a time when I was nervous.
Use your nervous energy to fuel your fire. It helps to see yourself in front of an audience giving a presentation and doing well. Picture them laughing at your jokes agreeing with your statements and being moved at the right times. You will be amazed at the results. If you see it you can do it.
In a University study they took teenagers and broke them up into three groups. All the teens took 10 foul shots each and their shooting average was recorded. One group practiced the foul shots for two hours a day, the next group imagined themselves making the foul shots for two hours a day and the third group did nothing.
After a week, the first groups shooting percentage had improved by 24%, the group who imagined hitting the foul shots improved by 23%, and the group that did nothing had no improvement. Those who imagined themselves making the shot had only a 1% less improvement than those who actually practiced the shot for two hours a day. See yourself giving the presentation of your life and you will. See yourself failing miserably and you will.
Use stories to illustrate a point: People will remember the stories and make the connection better than they will the point. Wherever I go, whatever I do, I am always looking for stories and what they illustrate. I use stories even when I am imparting information. People will ask what they want to know. If there is some vital statistic that I want them to have and it does not come up in a question I will give it after the Q & A part, however, facts and figures can be tedious and if I can illustrate the same thing with an apt story I prefer to do so.
Practice your presentation: Use a video camera or a tape recorder. Practice speaking with a microphone in your hand. If you attend a church ask the Pastor if you can share your testimony it is something about which you know and helps you gain confidence.
Mess up in style: You will misspeak, it is going to happen. You do not have to be perfect, you just need to plan how to handle it when you are not.
When I mess up, I point it out and laugh at myself; it relaxes the audience and stops you from thinking negatively about your performance. I once misquoted an oft quoted Bible verse, I tried again, and misquoted again, and finally said to the audience, you all know that verse quote it for me please: and the audience did perfectly and in unison.
Being a speaker does not have to be as hard as we make it; it takes practice, but also believing and being prepared for whatever happens.
Elizabeth Hammer- Owner of Hammer Consulting, specializing as an Organizer, Facilitator, Motivational Speaker, Inspirational Speaker, Trainer, Emcee, Writer and Copy Editor.
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