Do you "feel the fear" when asked to do some PublicSpeaking?

Public Speaking is still one of our greatest fears and itturns grown men and women into nervous wrecks. The merethought of it turns our tongue to cotton wool, causes ourinternal plumbing to act up and turns our knees to jelly.

Well, there's no need for all of this because help is athand. All you need to remember are your P's and Q's. Let'sstart with the P's

Preparation -

When you sit down to write what you're going to say, bear inmind who you'll be speaking to. Will they understand whatyou're talking about; will they understand the technicalstuff and the jargon? If in doubt remember the old saying -"Keep It Simple Stupid".

Make sure that what you say has a beginning, middle and anend. Think of some anecdotes that help reinforce your story.People think visually so paint verbal pictures for youraudience. And always remember, people want to know what's init for them - so make sure you tell them!

Place -

Have a look at the venue before the event if you can. It'snot always possible, however, even if you get there half anhour before, you can check out where you'll be speaking. Stand at the point where you will deliver from, imaginewhere the audience will be and check that they can see andhear you. You may even wish to place a glass of water whereyou'll be able to find it.

Personal Preparation -

Before any Public Speaking event, think about what you aregoing to wear; when in doubt dress up rather than down. Youcan always take things off for a more casual look. Men couldremove their jacket and their tie. Women could remove itemsof jewellery.

Part of your personal preparation should include some mouthand breathing exercises. Practise saying some tonguetwisters to give your speaking muscles a good work out. Takea deep breath and expand your diaphragm. Then breathe out,counting at the same time; try and get up to fifty and notpass out.

As part of your personal preparation, write your ownintroduction. Write out exactly what you want someone to sayabout you, large font, double-spaced and ask the personintroducing you to read it. Believe me they won't object andwill probably be pleased and impressed.

Poise and Posture -

Whenever you're called to speak, stand up or walk to thefront quickly and purposefully. Pull yourself up to yourfull height, stand tall and look like you own the place.Before you start to speak, pause, look round your audienceand smile. You may even have to wait until the applause diesdown. Remember, you want the audience to like you, so looklikeable.

Pretend -

I'm suggesting you pretend you're not nervous because nodoubt you will be. Nervousness is vital for speaking inpublic, it boosts your adrenaline, which makes your mindsharper and gives you energy.

The trick is to keep your nerves to yourself. On no accounttell your audience your nervous; you'll only scare theliving daylights out of them if they think you're going tofaint.

Some tricks for dealing with nerves are:

Before you're called to speak, get lots of oxygen into yoursystem, run on the spot and wave your arms about like alunatic. It burns off the stress chemicals.

Speak to members of your audience as they come in or at sometime before you stand up. That tricks your brain intothinking you're talking to some friends.

Have a glass of water handy for that dry mouth. One word ofwarning - do not drink alcohol. It might give you Dutchcourage but your audience will end up thinking you'respeaking Dutch.

The Presentation -

Right from the start your delivery needs to grab theirattention.

Don't start by saying - "Good morning, my name is Fred Smithand I'm from Smith Associates." Even if your name is Smith, it's a real boring way to starta presentation. Far better to start with some interestingfacts or an anecdote that's relevant to your presentation.

Look at the audience as individuals; it grabs theirattention if they think you're talking to them personally.

Talk louder than you would normally do, it keeps the peoplein the front row awake and makes sure those at the back getthe message. Funnily enough, it's also good for your nerves.

PowerPoint -

And for those of you who haven't heard of it, it's asoftware programme that's used to design stunning graphicsand text for projection onto a screen.

As a professional speaker, I'm not that struck onPowerPoint. I feel that too many speakers rely on it and ittakes over the presentation. After all, you're theimportant factor here. If an audience is going to acceptwhat you say then they need to see the whites of your eyes.There needs to be a big focus on you, not on the technology.

Use PowerPoint if you want but keep it to a minimum and makesure you're not just the person pushing the buttons. Whynot get a bit clever at using the faithful old Flip Chart,lots of professionals do.

Passion -

This is what stops the audience in their tracks. This iswhat makes them want to employ you or to accept what you'reproposing. Couple this with some energy, enthusiasm andemotion and you have the makings of a great public speaker.

Give your presentation a bit of oomph and don't starttelling me - "I'm not that kind of person." There's no needto go over the top but you're doing a presentation to movepeople to action, not having a cosy little chat in yourfront room.

That's the P's finished, so let's look at the Q's.

Questions -

Decide when you're going to take them and tell people at thestart. In a short speech it's best to take questions at the end. Ifyou take them as you go then you may get waylaid and yourtiming will get knocked out.

Never - never - never finish with questions; far better toask for questions five or ten minutes before the end. Dealwith the questions and then summarise for a strong finish.Too many presentations finish on questions and the wholething goes a bit flat.

When you're asked a question, repeat it to the wholeaudience and thank the questioner. It keeps everyoneinvolved, it gives you time to think and it makes you lookso clever and in control.

Quit -

Quit when you're ahead. Stick to the agreed time; if you'reasked to speak for twenty minutes, speak for nineteen andthe audience will love you for it. Remember, quality is notquantity.

One of the most famous speeches ever - "The GettysburgAddress", by President Lincoln, was just over two minuteslong.

Right, that's my cue to quit when I'm ahead. Now that you're armed with this information you too canminimise your fear of Public Speaking.

Alan Fairweather - "The Motivation Doctor" -is the authorof "How to get More Sales Without Selling" To receive your newsletter and free ebooks, visit:

Author's Bio: 

Alan Fairweather - The Motivation Doctor - is a professionalspeaker, author and business development expert. He is the author of four ebooks in the "How to get MoreSales" series. Lots of practical actions you can take to build yourbusiness and motivate your team.-To receive your free newsletter and free ebooks, visit: