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To the Reader

To the Reader

There is a myth that great speakers are born, “not made,” that somehow certain individuals have the innate ability to stand in front of an audience with no anxiety, and give a moving, dynamic speech. Well, that just isn’t so!

People we consider great speakers usually have spent years developing and practicing their skill. They had to start at the beginning and learn the basics of organization, preparation, delivery and dealing with anxiety. Once the basics were in hand they had to continue to build their abilities.

Professional athletes constantly practice the basics because they know that without such practice they will not survive. To an outsider, the thought of a professional golfer (for example) spending hour upon hour practicing the basics may seem ridiculous. But to that professional, the mastery of those basic skills are the very foundation of success.

Learning to be a better speaker is similar to learning any activity. In the beginning it can be frustrating. After a few lessons where you learn some theory and practice some of the basic skills, things usually improve. To really learn to do anything well takes constant practice and a mastery of the basics.

Speaking is no different. Before becoming comfortable as a speaker you need to learn some basic skills and then actively seek places to practice those skills. This may mean walking into your manager’s office and volunteering to give more presentations, or joining a speaking club which allows you to speak in an organized setting. The more experience you gain, the more proficient and comfortable you will become.

Good luck!

Steve Mandel

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