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Westside Toastmasters is located in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California

Gain the Public-Speaking Edge

Confidence and speaking ability go hand in hand. The more speaking you do, the more confident you become—not only of your ability to present but also of your overall corporate skills. When you overcome your fears more easily, you have the ability to truly persuade superiors, peers, or customers.

Your confidence grows with every speech you give, and every new thing you try—I know. Several years ago, I decided to become an "out of the box" speaker. Audiences needed more and more stimulation to stay involved with me and with all speakers of all persuasions. Because my goal is always to encourage maximum attention, I created "infotainment"—a unique way to combine information with entertainment. I also wanted to find a way to use my theatrical background to make my message entertaining as well as informative. So I created the Theater for Learning program—I added songs, props, and costumes to my workshops. As you can imagine, I was very nervous the first time I tried out this idea, especially because the first audience to view my new program was an auditorium full of straight-laced executives from IBM, one of the most conservative corporate cultures around.

To my relief, they liked it! They really liked it! That gave me the confidence to go on and to develop my program even further. Not everything I tried was a success, but most things were. Simply by trial and error, I came up with a program that is informative and fun at the same time.

Nothing builds confidence more than trying something new and daring in front of an audience. Every step you take in a new direction is a step towards building your confidence as well.

Confidence is not the only benefit of public speaking. During my seminars and workshops, I ask participants to come up with a list of things they can gain by becoming a more persuasive speaker—all beginning with the letter C. Here are just a few of the answers I get:




Career advantage













So how do you gain the public-speaking edge? By treating every speaking opportunity as just that—a valuable chance to inform and persuade effectively and, thus, shape the way you are perceived. This resource will teach you how to bring to any meeting or conversation the tools of a powerful speaker's trade: preparation, organization, focus, relevance, enough support for your ideas, and attention to the needs of your audience, whatever the size.

This careful approach to public speaking is tactical; it is designed for you to control your public-speaking situations, rather than vice versa. Effective public speaking is a true boost to self-esteem. People who control the effectiveness of spoken communication don't just exhibit confidence, they become more confident. People perceive persuasive speakers as leaders. The ability to speak and present clearly, persuasively, and memorably is a skill that will pay off for years to come.

So read on, and start to look at your workday differently—not as a series of random conversations but as myriad chances to polish your skills as a powerful public speaker. The first thing to tackle is fear of public speaking, which the next chapter covers in depth. With fear behind you, you will be free to reap the benefits enjoyed by commanding speakers.

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