As your Bismarck/Mandan radio pal, I make a living talking in front of a microphone and have a great time doing it!  Others (like my girlfriend Sherry) have a difficult time with public speaking.  In her job, she often makes presentations to her clients, her coworkers, and prospective clients.  She always tells me how nervous she gets when she has to talk in front of others.  Here are some tips for her and others that can make public speaking easier, whether your're an "average Joe" or the President Of The United States:

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1. Be Prepared
Rehearse with a complete run-through in advance, and write out a list of key points of your talk. Rehearse out loud with all equipment you plan on using.  Practice, pause and breathe

2. Research your audience.
If you are giving a presentation to a group of people in Seattle, be sure to be armed with some knowledge of the Seahawks’ Super Bowl win.  The better you connect to your audience, the better they will receive you and the more at-ease you will feel.

3. Visualize yourself giving your speech. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice clear and confident, and your audience receiving you well. Visualize the audience clapping – it will boost your confidence.

4. Relax  Pause, smile and count to three before saying anything.  Transform your nervous energy into enthusiasm.  Make eye contact with the audience (if you can) and be sure to smile a ton!

5. Realize that people want you to succeed. Audiences want you to be interesting, entertaining, and fun. They’re rooting for you.

One suggestion for public speaking experience is to check out a Toastmasters meeting.  I’ve never been to one, but Sherry’s boss suggested it for her.  Toastmasters is an encouraging organization to help members improve their communication, public speaking, and leadership skills. According to the Toastmasters International website, there are 7 Toastmasters clubs right here where we live, work and play in Bismarck (we are in district 78) and their Spring Convention is coming up in May.  For more information, you can visit: www.d78toastmasters.org.