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Have a Minute? Refine Your Skills in Public Speaking

1 Minute Skills: Public Speaking

In today’s business world, communication is critical. At some point in your career, circumstances may put you in front of dozens – if not hundreds – of people to present or pitch your ideas. For some, that can seem incredibly daunting.

Fear of public speaking is a common problem but one of the most important ones to overcome. The best way to squash it? Start early. Use these three one-minute exercises to perfect your public speaking fluency:

#1. Maintain eye contact.

To deliver an engaging speech, it is crucial to maintain eye contact with members of your audience. If eye contact feels uncomfortable to you, practice with a friend. One great exercise is to put together a few questions that encourage you to share your opinion – for example, “What’s your favorite genre of music and why?” Pick one at random from a hat, then look up at your listener and speak about the topic non-stop for one minute. After a few tries, making eye contact will feel more natural.

#2. Rehearse.

Repeating your speech several times is one of the most effective ways to prepare. If your commentary is more than a minute long, extract one short section to focus on. Concentrate on delivering each sentence clearly, with conviction and using powerful body language. Daily practice of different sections in the run-up to your presentation will help you develop solid knowledge of your topic and help your brain retain the information for natural delivery when you take the stage.

#3. Transform your speech into an opportunity.

According to leadership coach Scott Eblin, one magic phrase can shift your entire perception of an event. Right before getting on stage, think to yourself: “Wow, I get to share a message I'm passionate about with a thousand people. How cool is that?” Really focus on the implications of “I get to share a message” and take a minute to go over the points of your speech that you’re most excited about. This way, the experience won’t seem like something to be nervous about at all, but instead, an exciting opportunity.

Have another minute? Consider learning about the academic programs at Brandeis International Business School (IBS), including the Accelerated MA in international economics and finance. A rigorous curriculum and practical, immersive experiences enable our graduates to become World Ready. Priority application deadline March 15th.

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