Look for opportunities to speak.

Public speaking isn’t a skill that you can perfect without practice. So practice! Look for any and all opportunities to speak in public, in formal and informal settings.

Can you make a toast?  I was once asked to fill in as MC for a wedding (Master of Ceremony), with less than 24 hours’ notice. Totally scary! But I did it and when my jokes fell flat and there was total silence in a room full of 250 people….yup. I totally freaked out (on the inside). On the outside, I calmly asked the audience of my mic was turned on, because I thought that would for sure get a few chuckles—nothing. Nada. But, after 30 minutes of winging it, I found my stride and my jokes started landing and my ad libbing was awesome.

Where can you practice your public speaking?

  1. Volunteer somewhere that forces you out of your comfort zone and working with the public.
  2. Join the debate team on campus.
  3. Join a social club (Join the ALL IN Club!)
  4. Start a book club.
  5. Practice rapid fire style debates (pick a random topic and speak about it for 30 seconds to your friends. Take turns giving constructive feedback to each other).
  6. Raise your hand in class more often and ask questions.
  7. Speak up in meetings at work more often. –Ask your boss for more challenging assignments, perhaps those that put you in a leadership position where you have to manage a team project.
  8. If your food isn’t to your liking at a restaurant, speak with the waiter and send it back. (So often women refuse to send back a meal because they’re worried about offending the waiter or the cook or they don’t want to make a scene, or it just makes them uncomfortable). Force yourself to speak up next time your meal isn’t good.
  9. Conduct practice interviews with your family and friends, where you practice answering the most common interview questions.
  10. Make a video of yourself answering a question and assess your tone, body language, etc.

One thing you can guarantee is that if you don’t practice your public speaking, do will not get better! It’s that simple.

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