Professional Speakers’ Secrets

I’m sure you’ve heard it from others, and I’ll echo it: the secret is “Just be yourself.” I know, I know, that seems impossible facing a room full of expectant eyes. But in my presentation skills seminars, I “trick” my students into being themselves. Here’s how.

I first ask participants to think about something they’re passionate about, perhaps a favorite sport, hobby, or exciting experience they’ve had. Then I ask each to tell the class about it in four minutes or less. As the students talk about their passion at the front of the room, I see their eyes light up, their voices echo excitement, and their hands gesture vigorously as though interpreting for the deaf. The other students, their audience, usually applaud ...

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