Training and practice

If you are going to pursue public speaking, find out about training programs for speakers. Join the National Speakers Association, where you can take courses, practice, and make great contacts. Consider taking a few lessons with a speech coach who can tape your practices and give you tips and constructive criticism. Watch great speakers, in person or on video. Some consultants hone their speaking skills by teaching at local colleges and universities.

Look for a training program that will teach you speaking platform skills, methods for turning the natural fear of speaking into positive energy for your speeches, and effective rehearsal techniques, especially video feedback. Find a systematic way to develop speeches. The Decker Grid System, created by communications expert, Bert Decker, is an example of an effective approach.3

Lack of rehearsal is a noticeable problem with most consultants' speeches. When asked in an interview about his thoughts on rehearsing, Nick Morgan said, ". . . the vast majority of business speakers under rehearse woefully. Typically, they don't rehearse at all. . . . That is a disaster."4 Practice may not make your presentation perfect, but it can make the difference between excellence and disaster.

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