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Speaking for the Non-Speaker

29 August, 2010

Public speaking is supposed to be one of the greatest fears that humans can have. Perhaps this is no more clearly brought home in major family celebrations – christening speeches, major birthday celebrations, wedding reception toasts, funeral eulogies.

Often what can be a joyous occasion can be overshadowed by preparations – and not least so for the speech! An unconfident speaker can worry – especially, about how they are going to say their speech. This worry causes the dreaded sweaty palms, the butterflies in the stomach, sweating while being at a loss for words.

The first thing to remember is – be yourself. There is nothing more important when speaking in public than to be yourself – totally authentic. You like to laugh a lot? Do that. You’re shy? That’s okay – you’re in a room full of supportive people who want to see the real you.

When you speak, the only thing you have to do is to be authentic. Don’t try to be something you clearly aren’t – the audience can see that. Just be you – talking to a lot of different people who want to know what you have to say.

Here’s my top 5 ways to help a non-speaker deliver that once-in-a-lifetime speech.

Prepare your speech
No matter how good a speaker you are, you can’t do it off-the-cuff. If you don’t do public speaking, you need to prepare. Most speeches have an introduction, three points, and a conclusion.

Link your speech
Many presenters will do the above, but it won’t come together – simply because it isn’t supposed to. Your speech has to flow – and to do that, a couple of sentences linking your points together go a long way.

Conclude with power
Many people do good speeches, but fall on the conclusion. The conclusion is what your audience will take away from your speech – it needs to be something that is relevant to their lives.  Look at your speech – what’s the biggest lesson?  Maybe the biggest two lessons?  Conclude with that.  It doesn’t matter how you say it if it’s worth hearing.

Smile
Everyone says it, I know.  But, everyone says it for a reason.

Don’t focus on yourself
Remember – it’s not about you, and it’s not about how well you spoke.  It’s about the person you’re talking about – the child, the young adult, the happy couple, the life of someone you love.  Focus on them.

With these five things, your speech will be as informative as it is authentic.  As always – enjoy yourself!

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