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Speak with Confidence!

Because I happen to have a job that requires me to deliver talks to government employees, one of the first books I had to buy were about public speaking tips. After patiently browsing through the disarray of self-help books in a local bookstore, I finally found the perfect book. 

SpeakWithConfidenceSpeak with Confidence! is a book written by Dianna Booher about delivering powerful presentations and transforming a novice, fainthearted presenter into a riveting speaker. The book gives 497 tips to its readers after emphasizing that effective speaking is no longer just a “plus” in today’s professional world, but already a “must” for the successful individual. Here is a list of my ten favorite public speaking tips from Ms. Booher’s book:

Do not settle for being an average presenter. Never look around your organization to “what everyone else does” when they present and conform to mediocrity. Your success depends more on being different and on excelling.

Do not be afraid to show enthusiasm for your topic. Even the most mundane topic can be interesting if you show a little creativity and curiosity. Audiences easily get bored listening to speakers who are afraid to appear “too emotional” about their ideas and the outcome of their presentation.

Balance between expertise and humility. Expertise establishes your creativity, humility makes you likable.

Commit to give something of value. If you do not have time to prepare or do not feel compelled to make the effort, turn down the invitation to speak.

Use simple words. People are not impressed with the fact that you know what you are supposed to know. They are impressed that you are helping THEM know what you know. Big words are not really a sign of intelligence. The ability to make a complex subject understandable to the layperson is the mark of an effective communicator.

Adopt a light approach. To keep the audience’s interest, there must be an attitude of spontaneity and willingness to see humor in ordinary things.

Assume a friendly audience. If you assume that your audience is waiting to catch you in an error or argue with you, you are more likely to feel nervous and may even sound hostile during your presentation.

Match tone to content. Authoritative vocal tones are low and calm. A low pitch conveys power, authority, and confidence. A high pitch conveys insecurity and nervousness.

Make your body language consistent with your words. The impact of the visual element is difficult to shake. When the message seems inconsistent with nonverbal cues, body language and tone can trump the words. You can either look enthusiastic about your subject or you do not. 

Talk rather than read. A speaker does something more than read a published paper to the audience. The duty of a speaking is to get across a complex concept to an audience.

I still go over those tips every time I face an audience, learning and re-learning whenever I need to. So, if you want to read the rest of the 487 more public speaking tips, go grab Dianna Booher’s book now. It’s a wise investment!

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