Articles Tagged ‘Speech’

7 Tips to Quell Nervousness Before a Speech (That Don’t Include Jumping From the Window)

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

The fear of speaking in front of 5 or 500 people is shared by virtually everyone and cuts across all professions, social classes and leadership levels. There are lots of reasons why this fear wells up and seems to choke our confidence and vocal chords. But this blog post isn’t about the problem – it’s about the solution!

How do we not only overcome this fear, yet give a top notch speech at the same time? Here are 7 non-pharmaceutical (and non-alcoholic) ways to help you focus on giving a top-notch performance

1. You Rock!
Remind yourself that you know this information better than anyone else, that you’re well prepared, and that your audience needs this information. Say it to yourself again and again! Don’t let negative thoughts enter your active mind space. C’mon, say it like you mean it: “I know this better than anyone else, I’m well prepared, and these people NEED this!”

2. Know your topic and audience
Doing your homework and research will calm you down really quickly. Understanding to whom you are talking and including relevant and enlightening information in your speech will be cement yourself as an authority. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even invite you back!

3. Practice aloud – even if it’s a 30 second introduction
Writing a speech and giving a speech are two very different things. You will naturally find yourself changing, refining or improving your content once you speak aloud. Go ahead and make the changes as you speak, and at some time confirm your changes, stick with them, and begin practicing the same version over and over again until you feel confident about your presentation.

4. Always warm up
Warming up your body and voice at the beginning of an important day or right before a presentation will dramatically open up your body, gestures and vocal range. Five minutes of stretching, deep breathing, and reminding yourself that you ROCK will make you more at ease.

5. Don’t apologize, or say you’re nervous
Remember – people want you to succeed. If, in a lame attempt to relate to the audience, you say you’re nervous, they’ll no doubt notice it. While your mind may be racing in the three seconds that tick by as you approach the podium, the audience isn’t even paying attention. Why tell them that you’re nervous or say “sorry” for something as a way to get their attention?

6. Hold the microphone with your non-dominant hand
If you are given a microphone, hold it in your non-dominant hand so that you can gesture freely with the hand you normally write with. You will feel much more comfortable physically if you follow this simple advice.

7. Hire a presentation coach
If you have a very important presentation coming up or if your livelihood is connected at all to your communication skills, consider hiring a professional coach – top athletes would never enter a competition without the support of the best coach they can find.

OK, I’ll admit there are probably more than 7 ways to quell the nervousness and near-panic you are feeling. Frankly, if you just do two or three of these steps, you’ll be on your way to a better presentation. What tips for settling down and giving a great presentation have I missed? What works for you?

Ellen Dunnigan
Accent On Business
(317) 218-5115
ellen@accentonbusiness.net

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The Music of Your Speech

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Musicians and dancers talk about “musicality” in their respective arts. They say it’s something you feel in your bones and your muscles when you are performing. It’s interpreting the music, or the dance, through how it is performed. Speakers, too, can display charisma in this manner.

The charisma we’re talking about here comes from your gestures, the expressions on your face while you are speaking in public, smiling with your whole body, not just your lips; it’s the emotion you are conveying through your words and your visage. Your audience can truly sense your intention, passion, and meaning if you know how to communicate with charisma. If you are speaking to persuade, such as in politics or sales – all the better because you need your audience to feel the musicality in your voice and see it in your movements.

Especially during the summer because it’s concert season, you might hear your friends talking about how “so-and-so” is a great live performer. Well, it’s because that performer KNOWS how to perform. That performer’s got charisma radiating not only in his or her voice but through his whole person and body. Motivational speakers are the same way. They most likely became motivational speakers because they learned how to beam and emit their “music” onto their listeners. You don’t have to be a famous musician or motivational speaker to let your audience “feel your music” though. You can learn how to add musicality to your public speaking skills.

Musicality is a literal state of being melodious, and public speaking is most definitely a performance, so your audience needs to feel your music! You will leave your listeners in awe if you learn and know how to “play it” right; to the point that they’ll remember your speech – and you – long after they’ve left the conference room.

Ellen Dunnigan
Accent On Business
(317) 218-5115
ellen@accentonbusiness.net

Learn How to Add Music to your Speech

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