I love the old Seinfeld joke about the study of what people fear most. Number two on the list was death. Number one was public speaking. So the joke goes that if you are at a funeral, you would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy! This brings me to my tip for today:
MINGLE TIP #41: PRACTICE THE 5 KEYS TO GREAT PUBLIC SPEAKING
If you find yourself getting nervous when you are speaking publicly or meeting a new person, I have some suggestions for you. If you can master these five things, then public speaking will be no problem:
(1) Practice. Practice. Practice. An old Nike commercial says "Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they can't get it wrong." This is great advice. Practice your speaking before a big presentation, even if that means mentally to yourself. Eliminate the fear and stress that come from not being prepared.
(2) Have a "just hanging out" attitude. This should not be a surprise. My answer to just about every social skills problem possible can be summed up with this tip. Be the most comfortable person in the room, even if you have to fake it.
(3) Take on every public speaking opportunity you can find. Call in to a radio talk show. Volunteer to say the prayer at Thanksgiving dinner. Take a public speaking class. Join toastmasters. Talk to strangers. Whatever speaking opportunity you can find, take it on. The more public speaking you do, the more comfortable you will get.
(4) Be rested. I recently spoke at a conference in Las Vegas on a Sunday morning. I could have stayed out late on Saturday night and rolled in and winged the speech on a few hours of sleep. But would that have resulted in my best performance? If you want the best results, get a good nights rest, if possible. Don't even stay up late to practice.
(5) Attack nervousness like it's an opponent. Treat your nervousness as if it is something totally separated from you. It is an opponent to be defeated. So, if you have an opponent, do you back down and hope it doesn't defeat you, or do you get a little swagger and make your best effort to win? The next time you feel some nerves coming on in a social situation, go on the attack against it. Get confident and be assertive, not passive and afraid.
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