When giving a speech, project confidence! Even if you feel nervous, try to demonstrate control and competence. Public speaking is hard for everyone, and people will give you grace, but it helps if you act like you know what you’re talking about.

Don’t start by saying “Sorry, I’m nervous.” Speakers say this in an unconscious effort to win sympathy from the audience. Yet the actual effect is to take the audience’s focus from the content of the speech to your nervousness. Consequently, every nervous tic or mix up of words will be noticed more clearly. Furthermore, by declaring your nervousness, you indicate a lack of preparation. Thus, your audience is less likely to find you confident and believable.

Prepare your speech, practice beforehand, and be ready to go at the real thing. If you lack confidence, just act like you are confident, and you’ll find nervousness subside.

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