ASKED AND ANSWERED
September 8, 2001
We’ve all had to do it at some time or another. Your hands get sweaty or maybe they shake. You feel the butterflies fluttering inside your stomach and your mouth gets unbearably dry. “Um, um, um” becomes a common distraction when you can’t find your next thought.
It’s called public speaking and in the mid-1990s a study by social scientists revealed that people feared the activity more than death. So how do we get over that phobia?
Janie Swartz, communications professor at Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus, said her No. 1 tip to students is enthusiasm.
“The absolutely most important tip is enthusiasm. You can have the best, most well-written speech in the world, but if you don’t have enthusiasm people aren’t going to listen,” Swartz said.
Another tip Swartz gives her college students is speaking loud enough so people can hear you.
“You may have a well-written speech, but if you don’t speak loud enough or have enthusiasm” it shows, Swartz said.
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To execute a successful speech, Swartz said having perfected the speech through practice and staying calm throughout the day will help.
Swartz recommends ice tea with lemon before a speech.
Kathy Kiser-Miller, associate professor of communications and humanities at the college, said many of us are so fearful of public speaking because it’s all unknown.
“We don’t know how people will react and all the attention is focused on you. You’re not alone,” Kiser-Miller said. “It’s a conversation. Think of the audience as a big friend.”
Some of Kiser-Miller’s presentation tips include:
Know your audience
Know your time limit
Gather as much information as you can on the topic, then edit
Your speech should have an introduction, body and conclusion
Practice to help rid anxiety
Compiled by Kelly Silva