Face your next audience with condfidence

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Oct 01, 2005

You can enhance your professional career every time you step up to the lectern—provided you've mastered the all-important basics of public speaking. Try these six tips to become a more savvy speaker:

1. Prepare thoroughly. Talking about topics you know well gives you confidence. Concentrate on the points you want to make, not on your anxiety.

2. Personally greet as many members of the audience as you can before your talk. It's easier to speak to friends than to strangers.

3. Get comfortable with your surroundings. Professional speakers arrive early to size up the room and get comfortable with the audio-visual equipment.

4. Harness nervous energy and turn it to your advantage. You probably can't give your very best if you're not a bit nervous. So tap that energy and your passion to engage your listeners.

5. Make eye contact. Look audience members in the eye. But don't hold the contact for more than five seconds, or you'll make some individuals uncomfortable.

6. Remember, the people in the room want you to succeed. The audience is on your side.

William J. Lynott is a freelance writer in Abington, Pa., specializing in business and financial topics.