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Public Speaking Tips

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Submitted By Betty Connell, SDA/C San Diego Chapter Society of Design Administration

Surveys show most people’s number-one fear isn’t snakes or earthquakes – it’s Public Speaking! Whether its for an audience of 2 or 200, you can make sure you won’t be terrified and will come across great!

Does speaking in public make you nervous? Does the sun rise in the morning? You can feel calm and confident with barely a flutter of nervous butterflies. You just need to know a few simple tricks like these:

  • Take a B vitamin. Doctors say that vitamin B6 and B12 can help calm you down (they’ll also improve your memory and concentration, so you’ll remember what you want to say). Bananas, raisins and potatoes are full of B vitamins
  • Have a bagel. Carbohydrates, like bagels, pasta and popcorn, trigger the release of serotonin in the brain, which reduces anxiety and will calm the nervous system—so you’ll be more relaxed for your speech.
  • Stand in the spot before your speech: “Familiarize yourself with your surroundings beforehand”, says Ryan. “you’ll feel much more comfortable when it’s time to do the speech”.
  • Think of the audience as family and friends. “Practice first with your friends or family before you give your speech—then when you have to give it for real, imagine you’re simply back in your living room practicing”, says speech consultant Mari Jo Reinhardt. “It’ll help you feel more comfortable and less worried”.
  • Act confident: Those who act like they are unafraid and confident soon actually feel that way, says Candice M. Coleman, Ph.D., president of Say it Well!, Inc. and author of The Expressive Voice. How do you act confident? Keep your shoulders back, your head up high and smile—it may seem hard to smile when you’re scared, but after you do, you won’t be scared anymore!
  • Drink plenty of water. Studies show that dehydration can heighten anxiety. So drink a glass of water before your speech and if it’s available, take sips while you talk.
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