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28 Steps to Fearless Speaking

Overcome your fear and become a high-impact speaker

by Quentin Steele

Content Preparation

  1. Become an expert on your material
  2. Prepare your content thoroughly
  3. Organize your content into a logical outline
  4. Prepare a solid introduction: You are most vulnerable to nervousness during the first minute of your speech
  5. Prepare a solid conclusion: An otherwise well-prepared speech can die in an ad-libbed conclusion
  6. Establish your credentials early in the speech to build your credibility
  7. Rehearse your answers to potential audience questions

Mental Preparation

  1. Channel the adrenaline from your nervous energy into positive energy for your speech
  2. Instead of focusing on your nervousness, concentrate on benefiting the audience
  3. Visualize yourself giving a great speech and the audience loving it
  4. Act confident: If you first convince yourself that you’re confident, your audience will believe you
  5. When you make a mistake, deal with it, let go of it, and move on

Relaxation

  1. Get plenty of rest the night before you speak
  2. Relax before your presentation by stretching or taking a short walk
  3. Relax during your presentation by stretching your spine and breathing deeply
  4. Relax your hands: Avoid gripping them together or clenching your fists
  5. Relax your mind: Think of a calm and peaceful setting and imagine being there

Delivery

  1. Stand comfortably with good posture, and without nervous pacing
  2. Breathe and pause at the beginning and end of your speech. You will feel more composed.
  3. Breathe and pause whenever you are tempted to say an "uh-word"
  4. Instead of memorizing sentences, memorize ideas from which you speak from the heart
  5. Practice your delivery, first to a mirror, then to a friend or family member
  6. Join Toastmasters or take a speaking course to get lots of practice in front of a supportive audience

Audience

  1. Talk to audience members before your presentation to establish a relationship and to better understand their attitudes and needs
  2. Empathize with your audience: What do they need from you?
  3. Learn your audience’s names, and call them by name
  4. Use sustained eye contact to build audience rapport
  5. Involve your audience, which will offload some of the pressure you might feel

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Copyright 2009 Quentin Steele Communications | quentin@qsteele.com | phone 916.784.3936 | fax 916.784.2201 | twitter quentinsteele