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One of the best
marketing tools available today is that of speaking to a variety of
clubs and organizations. It doesn't cost a cent and it gives you a platform
to market your products and services. If people get to know, like and
trust you then working with you and buying your products and services
is the next logical step.
marketing tool is underutilized because many people have an unwarranted
fear of public speaking. In fact, the #1 fear of most Americans is speaking
in front of a group. To help you conquer this fear and ultimately increase
your sales, follow these guidelines:
- Join Toastmasters
International - My involvement with Toastmasters was life-changing.
Toastmasters is a non-profit organization that helps people master
their communication and speaking skills. It's easy to set up a group
in your organization or join an existing one. Through a combination
of exercises and positive feedback by the other participants you will
see your speaking skills and confidence reach new levels. Contact
their national office at 1-800-9-wespeak.
- Get Rid of
the Beliefs and Behaviors that Cause Fear. Many of our fears about
public speaking come about due to unwarranted and unjustified thoughts.
Here are some negative affirmations and beliefs to put out of your
*Speaking is dangerous to my well being.
*I failed before in a speaking situation. I will probably fail again.
*A survey says that public speaking is the #1 fear, so it must be
my #1 fear.
*The audience wants me to fail. The audience is my enemy.
*I don't have the physical appearance or natural ability. My talents
and looks are limited.
*I may make a mistake. I want to be perfect.
*Jimmy Stewart, Willard Scott and Johnny Carson have feared it. Therefore,
I ought to fear it and avoid it.
As Abraham Lincoln said, "You are what you think". Before each speaking
opportunity, think and write out positive affirmations (i.e. "I'm
a great speaker") and you will eventually believe it and become it.
- Practice …
Practice … Practice - Learning to become a confident speaker is
like learning to swim. You can watch people swim, read about it, listen
to people talk about it but if you don't get into the water you'll
never learn. Take every opportunity you can to speak!
- Focus on a
Friendly Face - Everytime you speak there is always at least one
person who is smiling, looking at you or nodding in agreement. Keep
your eyes on them until you feel relaxed.
the Audience in Their Underwear - Winston Churchill used this
technique to overcome those apprehensive, grim looking people in the
audience. It immediately calmed his fears by realizing that everyone
is just a person like himself.
- Plan -
90% of a good presentation revolves around good planning. If you want
to decrease your anxiety -- know your audience, research your topic,
prepare a good outline and then follow it.
a Successful Presentation - Picture the opening, body and the
close. Picture everyone smiling, laughing at your humor, applause
at appropriate times and then coming up afterwards telling you about
the great job you did.
- Use your Own
Style - Be yourself. Many fears can be attributed to a speaker
trying to adapt to a style that is not their own.
- Get to the
Meeting Early - If possible, I'm always at my speaking engagements
at least three hours before I'm scheduled to go on. By being early,
I can check out and get comfortable with the room, practice my presentation,
and get to know some of the participants.
- One exercise I use is a relaxation exercise which involves tensing
up parts of the body and then relaxing them. For example, I will tense
my hands, then relax them. Do this with your hands, feet, head and
entire body until you feel totally comfortable.
As Walter Cronkite
says, "It's natural to have butterflies, the secret is to get them to
fly in formation". By following the formation above, your fears will
be replaced with confidence.
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