Dealing with your Nerves
> The more you rehearse the better you'll be. The more familiar you are with the text, the more relaxed you'll be.
> Knowing the text well also means you won't be frightened of looking away from your notes, so you can concentrate more on your audience.
> As you're waiting to be announced, repeat in your mind the first couple of sentences of your speech. That will distract you from negative thoughts and give you the confidence of a good running start.
> Take three deep breaths just before you're announced.
> Before you start your speech, pause for up to three seconds. Establish yourself.
> Look around with a smile and make friendly eye contact with supportive people.
> Don't fiddle with your notes or try to hide them. 'Brandish' them for emphasis.
> Keep your energy level high: project your words to the back of the room.
> Emphasise the two or three most important words in each sentence. (It may sound artificial to you at first, but the audience won't realise it, particularly as your technique improves with practice. )
> Don't drop your voice at the end of sentences.
> Pause between paragraphs, let your words sink in.
> Mix your pace: fast, slow, medium as appropriate to the text.
> Don't pause for too long or it could sound pompous.
> Make sure you talk to everyone. Cover the whole room, including anyone on the sidelines or behind you.
> Continue to make eye contact with your supporters and others who are obviously responding to your words.
Avoid . .
> . . . gripping the table, mike or lectern
> . . . making gestures that aren't natural to you
> . . . playing with your tie, the change in your pockets, your watch, jewellery etc.
> . . . twisting your hair, touching your face.
And please Remember . . .
. . . Generally, your audience want you to succeed. With plenty of practice and rehearsal, you've got the best possible chance of doing so.
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