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SPEAK WITH CONFIDENCE!

1. Write down the purpose of your speech (inform, persuade, entertain) and include the topic...(to be most effective, it should be something you are familiar with that you are "eager" to share)

2. Brainstorm/Write down as many ideas related to the topic as you can come up with (if need be, additional ideas may be acquired through research), then categorize into no more than 2 or 3 main points (the body of your speech). Trying to make too many points is ineffective--just concentrate on what you most want your audience to remember/act on. If more points are necessary, tell them they will receive a handout afterwards (so they donít need to take notes and can focus on listening!).

3. Think of examples, facts, stories to use to emphasize each point and "bring them to life" (could include pictures/graphs/props/etc)

4. Decide on a good attention-getting opening (arresting facts, intriguing story, provocative question, etc) and a strong motivating close (summarizing your points and, if appropriate, including a "call to action").

5. Convert to BRIEF notes/outline that can be used when giving speech.

6. Practice giving the speech, using eye contact, gestures, vocal variety (these will come "naturally" if you focus on their "causes" -- [a] Knowledge of/ expertise in the subject, [b] Passion for it, [c] Desire to share it with others).

TRANSFORMING stage-FRIGHT into stage-ENTHUSIASM --

1. Know your topic and prepare well (see above).

2. Imagine in your mind actually giving the speech successfully, with smiling faces engrossed in what you are sharing with them! (If possible, go to where you will be giving the speech to familiarize yourself with the area, and practice "on location") Audience "feedback" (facial expressions, laughing, etc) go to the speaker's "first brain" (the brain stem) which "detects" whether the situation is "friendly" or not. If not, it activates the "fight or flight" mechanism (heart pounding, sweating, etc). If faces are smiling and the audience is even laughing and enjoying themselves (i.e. "captivated"), the first brain informs the "new brain" (cerebral cortex) that all is well and it is "safe" to proceed.* For this reason, your speech introduction should be attention-getting and possibly include a touch of humor (here, or at least in the body of your speech). This effectively removes fear by transforming it into self- confidence via audience rapport.

3. Just before starting, breathe deeply a few times. This has a way of relieving tension (and gets oxygen to the brain). Realize that ALL speakers feel some degree of anxiety. Understanding the above will enable you to use this anxiety/tension to your advantage to deliver an energetic/enthusiastic speech!!!

4. Smile at the audience as you approach the podium and pause for a moment as you look around at everyone. Think how EXCITED you are about this information and that you CAN'T WAIT to share it! Realize that THEY will be SO GLAD to get the information you will be imparting and that their lives will be DEEPLY ENRICHED and BENEFITED by it!!! If you concentrate on this wonderful message you are about to share and how much your audience will APPRECIATE it, your mind will be OFF you and ON what you WANT it to be on--your message!

(also, see 1 John 4:18)
*You've Got to be Believed to be Heard, by Bert Decker.

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As mentioned above, speeches typically have any one of three purposes -- to inform, to persuade, or to entertain. There are ALSO different modes of delivering a speech, four to be exact -- read, memorized, extemporaneous, and impromptu. The first two methods of delivery are not recommended in most situations ... the preferred is typically extemporaneous, as described in the above article. Reading a speech limits eye contact too much, and there is too much stress in a memorized speech, being concerned over forgetting a line. In addition, both are so "inflexible" that one cannot "adjust" what is spoken according to the kind of audience feedback you get. The fourth is actually used more often than any type, since any time you carry on a casual conversation with another person, it is "technically" impromptu. For some helpful hints on impromptu speaking, click here! Unlike the first three modes of delivery, with impromptu speaking there is no (formal) preparation; however, there is a lifetime of "informal" preparation, based on your life experiences and training/education! You just "dip into" your storehouse of knowledge as you start speaking ... the "click here" article will give you a few good "guidelines" you can use in formulizing/organizing your thoughts.

Finally, a few thoughts on speakers and speaking!

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