A little help with public speaking

Just last week I talked about getting more involved in government, whether it’s keeping track of bills, submitting testimony, or watching how our elected officials vote.

I submitted my first testimony online a few weeks ago. It was surprisingly easy. I didn’t have to register for an account, and I even received an email confirmation.

When we attend public hearings and submit testimony in person, I think it has a big impact on lawmakers. But many of us, myself included, may feel uncomfortable standing up in front of a small group and making a short speech.

So I collected a few tips about public speaking to help us when we need take a stand with words:

1. Look your best. The better you look, the more confident and professional you’ll feel, recommends the Editors of Publications Int’l in “18 Public Speaking Tips.” Stand straight and try not to fidget.

2. Smile at your audience as they enter the room, and smile at them when you begin speaking. This will make you feel relaxed, confident, and connected, advises Susan Cain in the article “10 Public Speaking Tips for Introverts.”

3. Don’t apologize if you are nervous or if there is a problem – the audience probably never noticed it, reveals Toastmasters International in “10 Tips for Public Speaking.”

4. Capture your audience’s attention from the beginning with an interesting comment or story, suggests the Avery article “Conquering Common Presentation Blunders.” Keep your presentation snappy and use anecdotes to slip in facts and statistics.

5. Speak as if you’re having a conversation, instead of reading or reciting your speech. Take your time. Show your excitement through your voice, facial expressions, and gestures, advises a “Public Speaking Tips” article.

If you want to practice your public speaking, check out Toastmasters International. They are a non-profit organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills. There are 66 Toastmasters clubs in Hawaii!

Are you comfortable with public speaking, or would you rather nudge someone else into speaking for you? How do you prepare to speak in public?

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