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10 Pro Tips On How To Get Over Your Fear Of Public Speaking

Keith Yamashita, Chairman & Founder of SYPartners,has worked alongside CEOs and their leadership teams to define—and then attain—greatness for their institutions for more than 20 years - and knows a thing or two about how to get 'Unstuck' of your public speaking fear.

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1. Remember, It’s your show — and people want to see you succeed!

"The audience is your friend, and the more you treat them like one, the better they'll respond. So, in your attitude, don't back-pedal…don't undercut what you've said…don't apologize…don't act small. It chips away at your authority as a friend."

2. Write down the logic flow, not the words

"I concentrate my preparation time on logic flow (the stories, in what order, the extreme language for each story, the zinger I want to get across and hit hard). Logic flow is far easier to "memorize" than word-for-word speeches. If you have your logic down, you can speak without notes. Without notes, means you can be 100% there for the audience."

3. Belabor the slides: Tighter, tighter, tighter

"I try to spend time with my slides — paring them to the tightest form. That doesn't mean fewer slides, necessarily. Sometimes more slides, each with a phrase or word, does more than having everything packed on one slide. I also make sure that the type is big enough (don't use serif fonts at small sizes) and I have the right color palette (don't use yellow, it can't be seen; don't use light blue, it fades away). Sweating these details means you never have to say, 'I'm sorry that you can't read this, but…'"

4. For every minute on stage, practice ten minutes in the real world

"For every minute on stage, practice ten minutes in the real world

Once your speech is composed and logic defined, it's time to practice. For every minute you plan on being on stage, practice ten minutes before you dare take that stage. For a 10-minute speech, that's 100 minutes of preparation time. For a longer speech, you can do the math. Practice is serious business."

5. Practice hitting the “openings” of every section of your speech

"The trick to staying on track when you're in the bright light of the stage is knowing how you want to start. If you hit your openings, almost all the rest of your material will flow effortlessly. "

6. Practice by saying it aloud, not just in your head

"There really is no substitute for saying it aloud. Practice in front of a mirror. Or in a big room. Or in front of friends. Or get to the venue early, and run through with a microphone."

7. Know everything you can about the arena in which you’ll be speaking

" A/V, seating configuration, who is speaking before, who is speaking after, who will introduce you. Control all these variables before you ever step into the room to speak. I make it a habit to request a lavalier microphone (not a handheld one), write verbatim introductions (even if the introducer blows it, the right words will get conveyed), and bring my own clicker (with a fresh set of batteries). I also have a Dopp kit filled with cables, A/V cords, and a sound cord — so that if the venue doesn't have them, I'm still ready. I regularly save my presentation in PowerPoint as well as PDF and on CD, just in case I have to present from the venue's computer and not my own. In a few cases, these things have saved my butt. Big time."

8. Befriend the A/V guy

"Do everything required to make the A/V guy love you: coffee, cigarettes, gum, candy, a massage. He is the key to your success. Make sure you meet him, thank him in advance, make sure he has everything he needs. And learn his name. If anything goes wrong, you'll want to use his name in your presentation — nicely — to get help. 'Jim, can we have the sound a bit louder? Thanks.'"

9. Be emotive. Be yourself

"A passionate speaker who is being himself (or herself) is a pleasure to watch. If you feel sad, show it. If the topic makes you giddy, be giddy. If you have anger about something, show it. Long after people forget what you said, they will still remember how passionate you were about the topic."

10. Everyone is using your body language as a barometer of how you want them to react to you

"You set all the signals and pace. If you're confident, they'll be confident with you. If you back off of a joke, they won't know whether to laugh. How well you do in front of an audience is far more under your control than it may seem. When I was confident — and my body language showed it — the audience easily came along for the ride. This equates to a few simple things: 1) Lots of eye contact, 2) Great posture, 3) Loud, projecting voice, 4) Good (but natural) hand gestures, 5) Confident pauses when you need them, 6) A relaxed flow (not rushing through the material), 7) Staying out of the way of your projector (so people can see your slides), and 8) An ability to be in the moment."

Best of luck and remember that this is YOUR opportunity to show your true self!

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