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Creating Successful Leaders

From a leadership standpoint, the ability to speak before people–and do it well–is one of the most invaluable skills you can possess.

Yet most of us have trouble getting up in front of a crowd, which is completely normal. I was terrified when I first began giving talks, and I’m sure my early talks had a lot of room for improvement. But now, because I speak so often, speaking before a group doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve been tweaking my skills for the past few years, and one of the most rewarding feelings is knowing that I’ve effectively captivated an audience.

Toastmasters is a world-wide organization that trains people in public speaking. They offer a few tips that help beat the initial fear we get right before it’s time to step up in front of a crowd.

1. Know Your Material. They suggest that you speak on things you’re truly interested in, and know more about it than you include in your speech.

2. Practice. And practice out loud, at the volume you plan on speaking, and repeat the speech over and over, until you’ve memorized it entirely.

3. Relax. Monitor your breathing and any tension you might be harboring in your shoulders. Keep your breathing steady and slow, and try to keep your muscles loose.

4. Don’t apologize for any mistake you make during your speech. The audience probably didn’t notice it.

5. The audience is on your side. It’s easy to slip into the thinking that the audience is hostile to anything you have to say, which is absurd. They wouldn’t be sitting there if they weren’t interested. They want you to succeed.

Being comfortable in front of a group lets you most aptly convey your personal brand to many people at once. In person, you can show your true personality, your speaking style, and the things that really make you excited. Doing this well takes practice, but it is one of the better ways of promoting your ideas.

Give it a try!



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