Speak With a Relaxed Body and Mind
by: Sandra Schrift

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Fear of public speaking is No.1. Death is No.4. So most people would rather get a root canal and pay their taxes than speak in front of an audience!

  1. Sure you have catecholamines all speakers do (including Sir Winston Churchill and Presidents Kennedy, Carter, and Reagan). These are the chemicals that make you sweat, make your heart beat fast, and make your hands shake. Get rid of those chemical and psychological reactions by becoming message-centered and audience-centered, not self-centered.
  2. Replace fear and negative noise with positive affirmations. Create new beliefs that nurture you and support you with new ways of thinking. The New Adult You! For example, "I am well prepared, and the audience wants me to succeed".
  3. Do a quiet meditation, visualization, or exercise before you speak. Breathe deeply. Deep breathing sends a message to your brain that you have nothing to fear. It calms you down.
  4. Who cares if you're nervous? Researchers have found that most people report noticing little or no anxiety in a speaker. If you are thoroughly prepared, your internal nervousness seldom shows. Prepare 150%!
  5. The Coach Sez... Practice in front of your mirror. Practice in the car. If you can concentrate while driving, you will be able to pull what you need from your unconscious when you are in front of the group. Make your points sound spontaneous and conversational.
  6. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Talk out loud, and walk around while you practice. Use the same physical energy you plan to use on the day of your presentation.
  7. Exercise is antidote to stress. Arrive early and take a brisk walk for at least five minutes. If it is raining or snowing outside, you can still do some body stretches.
  8. Abstain from caffeine and alcohol before you speak. You don't need more jitters. Always wear your favorite outfit and use attractive colors. Women, go simple on the jewelry. Avoid too much black and white.
  9. The Coach Sez... Most of all, enjoy yourself and have a fun. SMILE. After all, aren't you glad to be there? The sign of a mature adult is that you are not taking yourself too seriously.
  10. For trembling hands, place your hands on the side of your chair and count to 10 as you try to lift the seat. This is an isometric exercise that works and nobody will notice you doing it.
  11. Don't be perfect. Give yourself permission to make mistakes; No one is perfect in real life. Get the butterflies in your stomach to fly in formation. That's how you convert your stress into speaking power!
  12. Reduce your nervousness by taking several deep breaths immediately before you're introduced. And for you chocoholics, eat some chocolate to relax your vocal chords.
  13. If you experience dry mouth, chew your tongue to increase saliva flow. Singers do this. Close your lips and bite down on the entire surface. Always have a glass of tepid (not cold) water nearby.
  14. Focus on a friendly face in the audience. Pretend you are having a conversation, rather than giving a speech. Just be yourself.
  15. Here is a vocal warm-up exercise used at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. Say, PaPaPaPa, BaBaBaBa, TaTaTaTa, DaDaDaDa, KaKaKaKa, GaGaGaGa. Then do it backwards. (Courtesy of Robert and Rande Gedaliah)

Sandra Schrift 13 year speaker bureau owner and now career coach to emerging and veteran public speakers who want to "grow" a profitable speaking business. I also work with business professionals and organizations who want to master their presentations.
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