Believe it or not, there are people out there who would -quite literally - rather die than speak in public! If you’re one of them, it’s only fair to know that your future success DEMANDS that you conquer your fears.If there is one skill that future and potential employers want their workforce members to have, it’s the ability to communicate effectively. As a matter of fact, in an article entitled “What communication skills do employers want? Silicon Valley recruiters respond.” by Betsy Stevens (originally published in the Journal of Employment Counseling”, this is what readers learned:
Employers sought improved oral presentation skills more frequently than they did written skills. Their comments expressed a need for stronger skills in public speaking, enhanced interpersonal skills, increased confidence, and improved interviewing skills.
While written communication skills are a must have, mastering the ability to speak in public is like extra credit. Having the skill opens wide the doors of many priceless opportunities:
Leadership roles and positions
If Rome wasn’t built in a day, tearing down the walls of fear that surround you will take some time as well. However, with the following tactics and strategies under your belt, victory is that much closer.
The toast is one of the best places to start your practice. Unlike speeches or presentations, toasts are measured in minutes, not hours!
Toasts range from 1-10 minutes, with five minutes being an ideal self-imposed time limit. This translates into roughly 300 words altogether; meaning it’s not too much to memorize.
The other great thing about toasts is that you often know your audience, increasing your comfort factor.
Finally, opportunities to make (or “propose”) a toast are everywhere:
Dinners & Roasts
Commit yourself (aka: volunteer) to make one toast this month. Since this will likely be your first toast, elect an opportunity that falls well within your comfort zone. Limit your toast to 1-2 minutes (under 150 words), but do it with gusto!
This only gets easier with practice...
Stay True to You
When you’re giving a speech or a toast, one of the easiest ways to minimize your terror is to stay true to your own personality and style.
If you’re a serious girl, don’t try for jokes and banter - you’ll likely just come off as phony, NOT funny.
If, on the other hand, you’re the class clown, don’t try to button down and become Sally Straight-Face.
Public speaking is hard enough without trying for an Academy Award. Now is not the time to start acting. Instead, be yourself!
You & Your Audience Have Something in Common
...you both want you to succeed!
When it’s time for a toast or a speech, many us have a sneaking suspicion that our audience will - at any moment - erupt into jeers and boos, throwing tomatoes and rotten food at you.
In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Audiences WANT to be entertained. They WANT to get absorbed, to be enthralled.
All in all, they want you to be a SMASHING success!
So, instead of being intimidated by your audience, get motivated by your audience...
Without a doubt, getting comfortable with public speaking is a sure-fire springboard to success - both on and off the clock. By facing your fears head-on and immersing yourself in opportunities that allow you to strengthen your skills, you’ll have an advantage EVERYWHERE you go...
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