InnovationWomen isn’t just for women who have years of public speaking experience – it’s also a place for those newer to the scene to gain experience along with visibility.

Speaking can be intimidating to start out. Suddenly, all eyes in the room are on you, and everything you say is important. People often suggest imagining everyone in their underwear to ease stage fright, but we have some more helpful (and less creepy/revealing) tips for newbies:

  • Recognize your expertise and talk about things you know backwards and forwards. This isn’t the time to teach yourself something new just because it seems to be the buzzword everyone is using.
  • Bolster your knowledge with industry data and statistics. Look for analyst reports or university studies. A few well-timed stats can support your assertions and drive more credibility.
  • Practice, practice, practice – the more the better.
  • Get yourself up there. Start doing speaking engagements for groups you already feel comfortable talking to – family, co-workers or students.
  • Panels may be also a lower stress way to get out there – the weight doesn’t fall all on your shoulders, you usually don’t have to create a whole presentation and often it is in a question and answer format.
  • Conversely, being a panel moderator and asking the questions may be easier for some people just getting started.
  • Toastmasters is awesome. Taking an improv is awesomer.

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of the speaking engagement circuit or you’ve never held a microphone in your hand, the most important part of public speaking is having confidence in yourself and in your words.

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