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Most people hate getting up and talking in front of other people. That’s natural. We don’t all have perfect self-esteem to carry us through. With a little preparation and practice we can make public speaking easier.

1. Know Your Audience. The more you know about your audience, the more effective you can be targeting your speech to their needs. Your best source of information is the person who asks you to speak. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions.

2. Know The Occasion. Your speech should match the occasion. Humor can be a good thing when used appropriately. Anecdotes and stories may be welcome at an informal function but not at a seminar where listeners have paid to learn something.

3. Know Your Speaking Environment. The smaller the audience and the closer they are to you, the more informational your language can be. Listeners who can easily see your face and gestures will understand more quickly, so you can speak more rapidly.

4. Pin Down Your Topic. In many cases, at least the general topic of your speech will be chosen for you. You were asked to speak because you have some special insights. Make use of your personal viewpoint to make the topic distinctly yours.

5. Brainstorm. Brainstorming is a time for generating ideas and getting them written down on paper. Take one idea, write quickly, and stick with it as long as the material keeps flowing. Then move on to the next idea. Think about your purpose and think about your audience. Include stories and examples from your personal experience.

6. Research. Researching current facts and statistics, or quotes and opinions from respected sources, adds to the persuasiveness of your presentation. Having facts and figures to back you up will increase your confidence and enthusiasm. Search for interesting ways to demonstrate the information you uncover.

7. Prepare a Rough Draft of Your Speech. Your rough draft should be a complete version of you speech. All parts, the introduction, the discussion, and the conclusion, should be complete, concise, and well-organized.

8. Transfer Your Speech to Written Notes. Usea single word, a short phrase, or even a design or symbol to remind you of each segment of your speech. Write your notes yourself--the process of writing them out helps you remember. Make your writing big, use lots of spaces, and clearly number your pages.

9. Practice. You will probably memorize a lot of your speech while you are making your written notes. Remember, practice makes perfect. You will know you have practiced enough when you feel that your notes are no longer necessary. When you practice, pretend that you are actually giving the speech. Stand before a lectern or table like the one you'll actually use, and imagine members of your audience as they will be placed in front of you.

10. Beyond Nervousness. You’ve researched, you’ve written and you’ve practiced. It’s time for the show. Watch your listener's faces to be sure your message registering. Emphasize your ideas with gestures. Make that audience share your knowledge and enthusiasm.