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10 Simple Steps to Becoming a Confident Public Speaker

One of the most admirable qualities of Peyton Manning is his preparation. Even before he was a manager of the huddle in the NFL, he would film himself practicing his speeches so he could execute another flawless performance. As a manager yourself, becoming a good public speaker is essential.

by F. John Reh
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Some people are terrified to speak in public or in front of a group. These simple steps can help you do better at it, even if you don't like it.

1. Know Your Subject

It is always easier to speak about something you know. For example, it would be easier for me to speak about baseball, a game I have played and watched since childhood, than to speak about cricket, which I have only seen played a few times.

2. Research the Topic

Even if it is a subject you know, take the time to brush up. Before speaking to your company's sales directors about the new product your team developed, take the time to review the specifications so they are fresh in your mind.

3. Research the Audience

You want to capture and hold the attention of the group as you speak. This will be easier to do if you know something about the audience. What are their interests? What questions might they want answered? How technical are they? Find out as much as you can and tailor your speech to the audience.

4. Write it Down

Depending on the speech, you may write out the entire text of the speech or you may just jot down some notes on cards. Review what you write down and make sure it flows in a logical way. Fix it if it doesn't.

5. Rehearse

Deliver your speech out loud to yourself and, if appropriate, to a few others. Do it out loud because the words always come out right in your head, but if you have to speak them you'll catch some problems before hand. Then do it again. Keep doing it until you are comfortable.

6. Relax – You are Ready

You have prepared for this speech so there is no need to be worried. You know the material and you know your audience. Now just go out and deliver a polished, rehearsed speech.

7. Find Somewhere for Your Hands

Waving hands distract an audience. Find something do to with your hands. If there is a podium, rest them on it. One hand in your pocket can look okay, but both hands in your pockets looks bad. Hold papers (calmly) in one hand by your side, but don't wave them around.

8. Smile

A smile on your face will make your audience respond more positively to you. It will also help you feel better. Obviously, if you are delivering a speech to your department that they are all getting laid off you don't want to smile, but in almost every case it will help you.

9. Use Appropriate Humor

If you use a joke to open your speech, make sure it's a good one. It should be funny without offending anyone. It helps to keep it as closely related to the topic as possible. And it should be new.

10. Share Your Enthusiasm

You are speaking about a subject you know. You are prepared. You are relaxed and smiling. Use this speech as a way to share with your audience your enthusiasm and it will be a fine speech.