Speaking Successfully

Article excerpt

SOME STUDIES HAVE APPARENTLY FOUND THAT many people fear public speaking more than they do death. This led Jerry Seinfeld to conclude famously that at a funeral, there are those who would rather be the person in the coffin than the one giving the eulogy.

As a career and technical educator, you are accustomed to speaking to a classroom full of students or even to your entire school. But taking on a leadership role means you may find yourself speaking to business groups, corporate leaders, community meetings or even state legislatures. You could find yourself far outside of your usual comfort zone.

Perhaps you have a gift for public speaking, but there are others at your school who do not share the ability. When a talent comes so naturally to you, it may not be an easy to explain to someone without that natural ability how it is done. Picturing 'the audience in their underwear is one of the suggestions often made to someone who fears public speaking, but perhaps this is not the best advice.

For those who struggle with speaking in public, those who may wish to help someone else who has difficulty, or those who may simply want to improve their techniques, a few tips from the experts might help. One organization that offers such help is Toastmasters International.

Toastmasters International is a nonprofit organization that has been in existence since 1924. The organization estimates that more than three million people around the world have benefited from its training.

Courtesy of Toastmasters International, here are their "10 Tips for Successful Public Speaking."

1 Know your material. Pick a topic you are interested in. Know more about it than you include in your speech. Use personal stories and conversational language--that way you won't easily forget what to say. …