Speaking in public itself is not inherently stressful but our response to the

Speaking in public itself is not inherently stressful

This preview shows page 323 - 325 out of 635 pages.

Speaking in public itself is not inherently stressful, but our response to the stimulus can contribute to or reduce our level of stress. We all will have a stress response to a new, unknown, or unfamiliar stimulus. Nevertheless, the butterflies in our stomach are a response we can choose to control by becoming more familiar with the expectations, preparation, and performance associated with speaking in public. You Don’t Have to Be Perfect You Don’t Have to Be Perfect Letting go of perfection can be the hardest guideline to apply to ourselves. It’s also in our nature to compare ourselves to others and ourselves. You might forgive a classmate for the occasional “umm” during a speech, but
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then turn right around and spend a lot of mental effort chastising yourself for making the same error in your presentation. We all have distinct strengths and weaknesses. Knowing yourself and where you need to improve is an important first step. Recognizing that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and that you won’t become a world-class speaker overnight, may be easier said than done. It may help to recognize that your listeners don’t want to see you fail; on the contrary, they want you to do well, because when you do, they will be able to relax and enjoy your presentation. You might be surprised to know that not everyone counts each time you say “umm.” However, if “umm,” “ahhh,” or “you know what I mean” are phrases that you tend to repeat, they will distract your audience from your message. Eliminating such distracting habits can become a goal for improvement. Improvement is a process, not an end in itself; in fact, many people believe that learning to speak in public is more about the journey than the destination. Each new setting, context, and audience will present new challenges, and your ability to adapt, learned through your journey of experience, will help you successfully meet each new challenge. Organization Is Key to Success Organization Is Key to Success Have you ever thought of a great comeback to something someone said a while after they said it? Wouldn’t it have been nice to be quick and articulate and able to deliver your comeback right then and there? Speaking in public gives you a distinct advantage over “off the cuff” improvisation and stumbling for the right comeback. You get to prepare and be organized. You know you’ll be speaking to an audience in order to persuade them to do, think, or consider an idea or action. What issues might they think of while you are speaking? What comebacks or arguments might they say if it were a debate? You get to anticipate what the audience will want to know, say, or hear. You get to prepare your statements and visual aids to support your speech and create the timing, organization, and presentation of each point. Many times in life we are asked to take a position and feel unprepared to respond. Speaking in public gives you the distinct opportunity to prepare and organize your ideas or points in order to make an impact and respond effectively.
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