To Give a Great Speech, 9 Tips to Manage Your Nervousness



If you get nervous even at the thought of giving a speech, join the crowd. You’re not alone. Many people get nervous because they fear criticism, embarrassment, failure and/or rejection.

Every person is different but physical symptoms from anxiety and fear are common.

Nervous symptoms include: An unsettled stomach, fainting, perspiring, shortness of breath, stuttering, tense muscles and more.

However, fear can be a great motivator, if it’s managed. Use nervousness to your advantage and don’t assume anything or take anything for granted.

“In boxing, I had a lot of fear. Fear was good. But, for the first time, in the bout with Muhammad Ali, I didn’t have any fear. I thought, ‘This is easy. This is what I’ve been waiting for’. No fear at all. No nervousness. And I lost,” George Foreman later admitted.

In other words, nervousness can become your ally.

But as the boxer said, complacency isn’t. It always prevents you from giving a great performance.

The key is to become skilled at not acting afraid.

You can learn how to act confident — your audience wants to believe you have something important to share and will assume you’re calm and composed.

To manage your nervousness, here’s a checklist:

1. Research and prepare three ways

— Know your subject. Don’t wait to prepare your speech. Start immediately. If you procrastinate, you’re guaranteed to fail.

— Know your audience. Craft a speech to discuss what’s important to members of the audience.

On the day of your event, arrive early. Circulate among the attendees and talk with some of them. You’ll likely to make friends. It’ll put you at ease. Maintain eye contact with your new friends during your talk for increased confidence.

— Know your venue and environment. There are additional reasons to arrive early for a smooth performance. Check out the equipment. Learn the schedule of events sandwiched around your speech. Be sure to learn whether the attendees will be eating dinner as you speak.

2. Practice

Rehearse your speech while standing in front of a mirror to see how you present yourself. It will help your confidence.

If possible, videotape your rehearsal and critique yourself. Until you get confident in giving speeches, keep doing it again and again. On second thought, videotape your speeches even after you become proficient.

3. Put a governor on your adrenalin rush

First impressions set the tone on how the audience will perceive you. You’re still likely to be nervous, but don’t let it harm your performance. So take steps to make sure you start your speech successfully — thoroughly memorize your opening remarks so well that you don’t stumble or stammer.

Use nervousness to your advantage and don’t assume anything or take anything for granted.

4. Use visualization techniques

Success results from an inside job. If you take steps to feel successful — really feel confident — the audience will feel it, too. Therefore, enhance your potential for success by visualizing your success. Imagine how you’ll speak with confidence and how the audience will love your presentation.

5. Write and use affirmations

One sure way to reduce your fear and negativity is to write statements — affirmations — about how good you want to be. But write in present tense, such as “I’m a dynamic speaker,” or I’m very persuasive.”

Put the list in a handy location. Stand in front of a mirror and read the list aloud. Keep repeating the process.

6. Just before your speech, breathe deeply and get some exercise

Many good speakers will work out before a major presentation. At the venue, they’ll take a walk or do some light stretching.

Even after decades of public speaking, another of my favorites is to find a quiet place and meditate. Another is to breathe deeply. Fill your lungs with air, hold it for a few seconds, and do it several times.

7. Remember human nature

Because you’ve been invited to speak, the audience believes you’re a guru so act like it. The attendees are there because they want to see a successful speech. They won’t know if you make a mistake, so act like you’re successful.

8. Be an attraction — smile

Even if you’re nervous, put a smile on your face. Fake it, if you must, until you make it. A smile will calm your nerves and your attendees will respond favorably.

9. Act as if…

Your audience members will judge you how you look, not how you feel. By virtue of you being at the podium or on the stage, the attendees will automatically assume you’re confident and skilled.

Unless you’re totally inept as a speaker, even a subpar performance will be viewed as a success. So act as if you’re a competent speaker.

From the Coach’s Corner, related tips:

How to Get More Opportunities as a Guest Speaker — If you’re successful in generating speaking opportunities, you’ll create opportunities for your career. At the least, you’ll be in a position to raise your business profile.

9 Tips to Connect with People after You Make Your Speech — Typically, in making a speech at a public forum, businesspeople hope to get a return on their investment. After all, giving a great speech or serving on a panel before a targeted audience necessitates your valuable time and effort in preparation.

How to Obtain the Most Profit from Speaking Opportunities — It’s one thing to be invited to speak at your industry’s major event. But it’s another to create the right impression for your hosts, your audience and prospective customers or clients. There’s more to it than you might think.

Public Speaking Tips – for Speeches in Accepting Awards, Honors — So you’re about to be honored for your pro bono work, volunteerism, or for creating a foundation to fund scholarships for education. But you get stage fright or don’t know how to most-effectively frame your acceptance speech?

Strategies to Use When Your Business Presentation Goes Badly — You know your subject and how to get the people in the audience to connect emotionally with your pitch. You leverage the latest technology. Audience members might not recall everything you say. However, they’ll always recall how you make them feel.

“If I ever completely lost my nervousness I would be frightened half to death.”

Paul Lynde


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.






Learn to Give a Speech Like a Business Pro with 8 Tips



When it’s time to give a speech, do you tremble with abject fear? Do you break out in a cold sweat?

Getting terrified and tongue-tied is not a fun experience.

It’s OK to be nervous before giving a speech in public or speaking in a meeting at work. Feeling pressure is one thing but allowing it to morph into stress and tension is another.

The good news is you use stage fright to your advantage, if you learn to train yourself to stop stressing.

ID-10082845Becoming a great speaker requires studying best practices, identifying your speaking errors, rehearsing new-learned techniques, being tenacious, and leveraging your passion.

You can become a great speaker with just eight steps:

1. Get a snapshot of how you appear in giving a speech. You can get feedback from others, which can help. But the best way is to record yourself giving a speech to see how you look and sound.

You don’t have a video camera? No problem, even a smartphone will work to show you how you speak.

2. Identify and analyze what you’re doing wrong. Watch and listen very carefully for your possible verbal shortcomings.

The most-annoying speakers often do two things: They frequently say “ah,” “uh,” “er,” an “um”; and their voices trail off at the end of their sentences.

Eliminate all filler words and make sure you project every word when speaking.

These are signs they’re at a loss for words when either asked questions, when making a presentation, or in a staff meeting. If this is you, it is possible to become great at thinking on your feet.

Becoming a great speaker requires studying best practices, identifying your speaking errors, rehearsing new-learned techniques, being tenacious, and leveraging your passion.

3. Watch your body position. AKA, that’s body language. Do you fidget, show you’re nervous or appear to be defensive?

Erectly stand. Don’t cross your arms. Keep your arms open and use hand gestures to emphasize points.

4. Check to see if it’s fun to listen to you. Inexperienced or insecure speakers often talk in a high pitch, through their throat or nasally without using their diaphragm.

For a quick study, make a sound of agreement with “mmhm.” That’s probably the right pitch for you as a speaker.

Moreover, if they were effective in their breathing and strengthened their diaphragms, they’d have authoritative resonance by speaking from the diaphragm.

5. See if you’re talking at the right speed. If you talk too fast, your diction will be muddled. So speak more slowly. Your rate of speaking will differ from other speakers.

Learn your ideal speed by practicing. Continue to tape and listen to yourself. Your rate of speaking depends on how fast or slow you talk without making errors — slurring words and stammering.

Do this, you’ll immediately get points as having above-average intelligence.                   

6. Use the tool of silence. That’s right, silence. Have you ever noticed why some people succeed as powerful public speakers? One salient reason is they know how to use the power of pauses.

So give your audience members a chance to think about important points and hold their attention by maximizing your speaking with the power of pauses.

7. Speak, but don’t continuously ramble. Remember, it’s not what you say but how you say it.

Visualize your speech text. Where did you insert punctuation? Don’t just talk. Pause at phrases where you inserted commas. And pause at the end of the appropriate sentences.

8. Bring your best game with passion. Be passionate. Where appropriate, use enthusiasm with confidence.

Avoid ending your sentences in an upward pitch — as though you’re asking a question — unless you intend to ask questions of your audience. Ending a sentence in a higher pitch shows a lack of confidence.

Conversely, avoid being a boring speaker — don’t talk in a monotone style. Listeners prefer a variation in a speaker’s inflection.

From the Coach’s Corner, related content:

How to Get More Opportunities as a Guest Speaker — If you’re successful in generating speaking opportunities, you’ll create opportunities for your career. At the least, you’ll be in a position to raise your business profile. Ideally, prospective clients or customers will be in the audience. Count on opportunities to develop centers of influence — people who can refer business to you. 

9 Tips to Connect with People after You Make Your Speech — Typically, in making a speech at a public forum, businesspeople hope to get a return on their investment. After all, giving a great speech or serving on a panel before a targeted audience necessitates your valuable time and effort in preparation. 

How to Obtain the Most Profit from Speaking Opportunities — It’s one thing to be invited to speak at your industry’s major event. But it’s another to create the right impression for your hosts, your audience and prospective customers or clients. There’s more to it than you might think. 

Public Speaking Tips – for Speeches in Accepting Awards, Honors — So you’re about to be honored for your pro bono work, volunteerism, or for creating a foundation to fund scholarships for education. But you get stage fright or don’t know how to most-effectively frame your acceptance speech? Join the crowd. A lot of people have difficulty in public speaking. 

Acting, Speaking Coach: How to Improve Communication with Others — Do you know when you marginalize others?   If you’re having communication problems with someone important in your career or life, chances are one or both of you will profit from tips in honest communication. This is also true if you want to get a job.

I had used eclectic therapy and behavior therapy on myself at the age of 19 to get over my fear of public speaking and of approaching young women in public.”

-Albert Ellis


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo Courtesy Ohmega1982 www.freedigitalphotos.net

Public Speaking Tips – for Speeches in Accepting Awards, Honors



So you’re about to be honored for your pro bono work, volunteerism, or for creating a foundation to fund scholarships for education. But you get stage fright or don’t know how to most-effectively frame your acceptance speech?

Join the crowd. A lot of people have difficulty in public speaking.

Award speeches are all about being receptive and radiating with gratitude, while smiling and graciously accepting the honor from the heart in a spirit of openness and genuine feelings and emotional tones,” explains Eric Stone, a noted speech trainer.

“It is simply about what is true for you about the award, the people giving it to you and present with you, as well as the business or industry that you are in or cause you are representing,” he says.

ID-100307447 stockimagesMr. Stone has been teaching since 1983, and is the principal of Speakers and Artists International, Inc.

As a former New York City stage and television actor, early in his career he studied privately under Herbert Berghof, Uta Hagen, Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, and William Hickey.

“I am very much a target oriented coach or trainer working on key issues and problem areas related to public performance,” he explains.

That includes speech training for executives.

“Public speaking relies on very simple yet wonderfully telling ‘dynamics’ between the speaker and his/her audience,” he asserts.

“That is the true competitive edge of this style of coaching which targets ‘organic, spontaneous and authentic’ enrollment techniques not outdated ‘external’ body language techniques and frozen gestures, postures and various similes,” Mr. Stone adds. “I have found that almost every problem a speaker experiences is related to those few and simple dynamics.”

“Award speeches are all about being receptive and radiating with gratitude, while smiling and graciously accepting the honor from the heart in a spirit of openness and genuine feelings and emotional tones.”

Mr. Stone recommends finding the most-effective key words, tone and phrasing for the specific situation.

“You have to be able to see yourself say those things and find a style to say them…casual, from the heart, entertaining, emotional, formal, elegant, and sophisticated, etc.,” he points out. “There are things you see yourself say and others not. The same goes for the manner in which you voice the things you say.”

Mr. Stone’s recommends these speech elements:

  • Gracious and heartfelt thanks for the organization giving you the honor
  • Acknowledgement of the special people in the audience: wife, daughter, brother, etc.
  • Acknowledgement of the audience who took time out to witness the celebration.
  • An appreciative awareness of those who made it possible for you to achieve the award.
  • What the award means to you – including reference to the values, goals, aspirations, etc., the organization or group represents and how they inspire you.
  • Stories – small personal heart-felt anecdotes to show what receiving this award means to you in your life. All from the heart so as to make it real for the audience.

He says you’ll need salient information:

  • Who will be in the audience? And will need to be thanked?
  • Is the event only for you or other things will be celebrated?
  • Have you received any directions or information regarding the event? Specifically about your receiving honor? Logistics? How long you are expected to speak, etc.
  • Who will be giving you the award? Name of person?

These are great tips to heed now — you never know when you’ll need them.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are relevant links:

Communication – You Can Train Yourself to Stop Stressing — It’s OK to be nervous before giving a speech or when you’re entering an important round of negotiations. Feeling pressure is one thing but allowing it to morph into stress and tension is another. When you allow this to happen, in a sense, you’re giving away your personal power, which inhibits your performance.

How to Get More Opportunities as a Guest Speaker — If you’re successful in generating speaking opportunities, you’ll create opportunities for your career. At the least, you’ll be in a position to raise your business profile. Ideally, prospective clients or customers will be in the audience. Count on opportunities to develop centers of influence — people who can refer business to you.

How to Obtain the Most Profit from Speaking Opportunities — It’s one thing to be invited to speak at your industry’s major event. But it’s another to create the right impression for your hosts, your audience and prospective customers or clients. There’s more to it than you might think. Widely acclaimed as a speaker and based in Los Angeles, Joey Tamer made her stellar reputation as a strategic consultant to entrepreneurs in technology and digital media, and to experienced consultants in all fields to maximize their practices.

9 Tips to Connect with People after You Make Your Speech — Typically, in making a speech at a public forum, businesspeople hope to get a return on their investment. After all, giving a great speech or serving on a panel before a targeted audience necessitates your valuable time and effort in preparation. You could give a speech and then go back to your office waiting for the phone to ring. Or, you could give a talk and then take strategic steps so that you can further connect with the individuals sitting in the audience – for strong results.

13 Best Practices for Fun, Successful PowerPoint Presentations — You want to give fun, successful PowerPoint presentations, right? To do so, you must remember the proper relationship among the slide, your audience and you, according to an expert. Here’s how.

“It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.”

-Mark Twain


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of StockImages at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.