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Beads of sweat roll down your forehead, the collar of an otherwise loose shirt tightens, Words go missing, and thousand ideas run through your head but just won’t come onto your tongue and that vicious unnerving glare from the crowd piercing through you.
The description above is not of the final moments of a death penalty but a situation very similar and never ending, called public speaking.
The above scenario is particularly of a first timer or of someone for whom the fear just never ends be it the first, tenth or the hundredth time.
Public speaking is a simple task but it is definitely NOT easy. Many of us claim or are looked upon as great speakers where in essence we miss some vital points. It is not just your confidence that matters but also your rapport with your audience. Ernest Hemingway once wrote that, “In order to write well, you must know 10 words about the subject for every word that you write.
Otherwise,” he said, “the reader will know that this is not true writing.” I personally feel that, in speaking, you must know 100 words for every word that you speak. Otherwise, your audience will have the sense that you don’t really know what you’re talking about.
To put it another way, the starting point of being an excellent speaker is for you to really care about your subject. It’s not unusual for a person to spend many hours, days and even weeks, preparing for a talk.
Whenever you see a professional speaker who gives a talk that seems almost effortless, you can know for sure that it was preceded by enormous preparation.
To prepare for a talk, the first thing you do is write out an objective statement of what you wish to accomplish as a result of this presentation. If it’s a 10 minute presentation, or a 10 hour presentation, the statement of your objective is the same. It’s the answer to the question, “Who is my audience and what effect do I want my talk to have upon them?”
In short pay any price, spend any amount of time, overcome any obstacle, but make a decision, right now, that you’re going to learn to speak well to other people. It could be one of the most important decisions you ever make in ensuring your long term success in your career.