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How to Prepare your Mind/Body to Give Great Speeches

Sure you have catecholamines 'all speakers do. (including Sir Winston Churchill and Presidents Kennedy, Carter, and Reagan.) Those are the chemicals that make you sweat, make your heart beat fast and make your hands shake. Get rid of those chemical and psychological reactions by becoming message-centered and audience-centered, not self-centered.

1 Replace fear and negative noise with positive affirmations. Create new beliefs that nurture you and support you with new ways of thinking. The New Adult You! example: 'I am well prepared, and the audience wants me to succeed.'

2. Do a quiet meditation, visualization, or exercise before you speak. Breathe deeply. Deep breathing sends a message to your brain that you have nothing to fear. It calms you down.

3 Who cares if you're nervous? Researchers have found that most people report noticing little or no anxiety in a speaker. If you are thoroughly prepared, your internal nervousness seldom shows. Prepare 150%.

4.Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Talk out loud, and walk around while you practice. Use the same physical energy you plan to use on the day of your presentation.

The Coach sez... practice in front of your mirror .Practice in the car. If you can concentrate while driving, you will be able to pull it from your unconscious when are you in front of the group. Make your points sound spontaneous and conversational.

5. Exercise is an antidote to stress. Arrive early and take a brisk walk for at least five minutes. If it is raining or snowing outside, you can still do some body stretches.

6. Abstain from caffeine and alcohol before you speak. You don't need more jitters. Always wear your favorite outfit and use attractive colors. Women, go simple on the jewelry. Avoid too much black and white.

7. For trembling hands, place your hands on the side of your chair, and, count to 10 as you try to lift the seat. This is an isometric exercise that works and nobody will notice you doing it.

8. Don't be perfect. Give yourself permission to make mistakes. No one is perfect in real life. Get the butterflies in your stomach to fly in formation. That's how you convert your stress into speaking power!

9. Reduce your nervousness by taking several deep breaths immediately before you 're introduced. And for you chocoholics, eat some chocolate to relax your vocal chords.

11 If you experience dry mouth, chew your tongue to increase saliva flow. Singers do this. Close your lips and bite down on the entire surface. Always have a glass of tepid (not cold) water nearby.

12 Focus on a friendly face in the audience. Pretend you are having a conversation, rather than giving a speech. Just be yourself.

13 The Coach sez...Most of all, enjoy yourself and have fun. SMILE. After all, aren't you glad to be there? The sign of a mature adult is one who does not take himself too seriously.

14 Here is a vocal warm-up exercise used at the Ryal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. Say:PaPaPaPa, BaBaBaBa, TaTaTaTa, DaDaDaDa, KaKaKaKa, GaGaGaGa Then do it backwards. (from Robert and Rande Gedaliah)

Get more speaking skills at our "Summer Sizzle" webpage:

©2004 by Sandra Schrift. All rights reserved


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