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Don’t let negativity crush your self esteem and ruin your life. It can, and you need to recognize it, and as Barney Fife would say, “Nip it, nip it in the bud.” When people are asked to give speeches for any reason, you usually hear a reply, “I can’t do that.” The question to ask yourself is, “Can’t…or won’t?” Sometimes we take on a “Negaholic” approach to speech giving.

Public speaking isn’t just a gift some people have the ability to do and others don’t. Sure, some people have a natural “gift of gab” and are more personable than others, but that’s not what makes a good speech giver. There’s much more to it. Giving a good presentation is something that can be learned, and you can do it too. Give yourself a chance, and you can win the “I can—I can’t” speech giving game. Here are a few things that can help you conquer your fear and turn the “can’t” into a “can.”

1. Know your material—Research the presentation topic thoroughly. Before you have to actually give your presentation. This is a very important area it will make you feel more confident.

2. Knowing your audience is just as important. The more you know your audience, the more you can understand them. You’ll know what their preconceptions might be, and prepare your presentation to meet them.

3. Knowing the purpose of the presentation—What kind of presentation will it be. There are several types such as: Motivational, informative, persuasive, etc. Knowing ahead of time so you can prepare properly is important.

4. Brainstorm and pick a good topic—Sometimes, they give you the topic. If not, you begin to brainstorm. Write down everything you would feel confident about presenting, then select what you feel would be best for you.

5. Know your audience—Ask who you’ll be speaking in front of. If it’s not a group you’re familiar with, do research to determine their values and beliefs, their socioeconomic status, their goals, etc. It will help them get involved, and make you feel more at ease when the time comes to speak.

6. Write your speech–Put the information you want to give your audience in a logical sequence. Your presentation should have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

7. Practice—You can help to overcome your fears and lack of confidence, if you practice in front of a mirror, friends, colleagues or family. The more comfortable you become with the speech itself, the more confident you’ll be presenting it.

8. Relax—One way to do this is through controlled breathing. Breathing exercises are a simple tool to reduce stress, calm nerves, and make you feel stronger and control.

There’s an old story about a man who heard something couldn’t be done. He laughed and replied that maybe it couldn’t, but he wouldn’t say so until he tried. He buckled in with a bit of a grin. If he was worried, he hid it well. He started to sing, and tackled the thing that couldn’t be done. There may be thousands that tell you that you can’t speak in public. If they do, just buckle in, grin, and sing as you show them how it’s done. Remember, can’t never could, but you CAN!


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