Confidence: “Perfect Practice Makes Perfect”

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Confidence: “Perfect Practice Makes Perfect”

Business PeopleImagine yourself standing in front of a room full of people. You’ve been asked to speak on something you know very well. You’ve got this…but maybe you are little nervous.  Here are some ways to turn those nerves into confidence as you prepare for this moment.

1. Know the Room

In preparing for your presentation, if you aren’t bringing your own audio visual equipment, be sure to confirm and reconfirm that you will have everything you need. Access to the internet? Sound? A hand held clicker? Arrive early to confirm you have everything you need and that everything works. What is your backup plan if for some reason you do not have everything you need? Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the room. Where will the audience be seated? Find the best lighting when looking up at the stage and make this area your “speaking zone.”

2. Know Your Audience

When requested to present on your topic, ask about the audience to whom you will be speaking so that you can tailor your words and delivery appropriately. What does everyone in the audience have in common? The same profession? What do they hope to walk away with from this presentation? The day of your presentation, greet the audience members as they arrive. This creates a positive first impression and it’s easier to speak to a room full of “friends” than strangers.

3. Know Your Speech

You’ve heard it before. Practice, Practice, Practice. If it takes you 1 hour to write your speech, you should be spending 5 hours practicing. Practice reading through it, what will you emphasize more deeply as you move through the content. How will your voice tell the story? How will your face and hand gestures support the message? Is it appropriate to physically move your body to create more impact around your message? It’s not that “practice makes perfect”; perfect practice makes perfect!

4. Develop and Know Your Mantra

Self talk is really powerful. Take ownership of your self talk by creating a mantra that is fitting for the occasion. Something like, “I am well prepared, I own this topic, this is information people need to know.” Your mantra should be short enough to memorize; free of negative words such as “no”, “not”, “can’t”, and “don’t”; and always in present tense (no futuristic words, such as “will” and “going to”). And keep in mind your inner tone is just as important, say it to yourself with a positive energetic mindset. Start repeating your mantra 5 minutes before beginning to really get in the zone; keep the message going, louder and louder in your head. Banish the negative self-talk.

5. Channel Your Energy

You can channel your nervous energy into a positive force by engaging your physical body. Before you leave your home, office, or hotel room — or on-site prior to greeting the audience — try some of these exercises. Take deep diaphragmatic breaths, stretch your neck, do some shoulder roles and spine stretches. Move with some jumping jacks or running in place. Do some vocal warm up exercises getting your lips, tongue, voice and breathing all in sync. Keep saying your mantra all the way though your preparation.

6. Know You Will Improve

Experience builds confidence. Challenge yourself to find opportunities to speak the same presentation in front of groups on a regular basis. Great communication skills set you apart from the rest of the pack. If it is worth saying, it is worth all the preparation.

Would you like help learning the techniques of great speakers or preparing for your next presentation? Accent on Business prepares you for your best presentation with results-oriented workshops or individual coaching. Call today for a better speech tomorrow (317) 218-5111.

About the Author:

Ellen Dunnigan founded Accent On Business in 2001 specializing in public speaking, communication skills, and executive presence for leaders in business. She has 25 years of experience with professional and nonprofessional speakers in healthcare, media, politics, engineering, sports, and other industries. Ellen’s coaching in speaking skills gives established and emerging leaders greater confidence and credibility. Her leadership programs in accountability, alignment, difficult conversations, and organizational communication have helped leaders expand their influence. Ellen is known for her practical “how to” style.

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