By Tricia Beck, M.Ed., Beck Leadership

Rejection is scary to everyone, so it makes sense that nervousness and panic are common reactions to public speaking. Telling someone to “just get over it!” doesn’t get rid of those negative emotions, and neither does keeping a tally of how often someone stutters or starts. The best cure is accumulating enough positive speaking experiences in a facilitated classroom atmosphere of acceptance and approval, until the negative memories are outweighed by positive experiences.

Multiple studies have outlined public speaking as one of human’s most common fears. Avoidance is one way to cope, but doesn’t bode well for anyone looking to advance their career.

Think back to the first time you swam or drove a car. Those experiences were nerve-wracking because we are naturally uncomfortable during periods of growth. Where would you be today if you never tried something that was difficult at first?

The following 7 tips may be helpful. Try one at a time:

  • Talk about subjects you know from experience/study and of interest to you.
  • Give enough details to visualize your story.
  • Get right into the story.
  • Use proven methods of 1-on-1 conversing.
  • Avoid lecturing. Talk with, not at audiences.
  • Larger audiences require bigger gestures and voice projection.
  • When in doubt, speak from the heart.

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