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Personally, my big challenge was eye contact. With a background in radio, I had lots of experience with speaking to others, speaking to literally thousands of people at a time. But, put me in a room with a dozen people looking back and I felt that gut-wrenching chill that novice speakers know so well. After a few speeches, though, I was over it. I had enough knowledge of mechanics of speaking to get over my fear.
That takes us to matter of practice. The only way you’ll learn to use your newfound knowledge is through practice - standing in front of an audience and using what you’ve learned.
The elements only become natural and automatic through practice. And here’s a bonus: you also become increasingly familiar with what happens in audience as you speak. That allows you to adjust your content or presentation on fly, to get results you want.
For me, path to enjoyable public speaking - and I now love it - came through Toastmasters. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a non-profit organization, made up of local clubs, where aspiring speakers learn from each other. I strongly recommend it. And, hey! If you go on to do a comedy act in front of a crowd one day, maybe I’ll be cheering for you.
In summary, don’t think of public speaking as one big leap; think instead of learning a series of elements one by one, and increasing your proficiency with them through practice.
Robert F. Abbott writes and publishes Abbott’s Communication Letter. Learn how you can use communication to help achieve your goals, by reading articles or subscribing to this ad-supported newsletter. An excellent resource for leaders and managers, at: http://www.communication-newsletter.com