Start strong

One trick I learned early on in public speaking was feeling comfortable with my first 10% of the presentation. I always wanted to start strong.

I don’t mean you should feel pressure to be funny, or show a provocative headline, or come out with boundless energy and enthusiasm you might not feel (though they are all valid, if you want to pursue them).

I mean that a lot of my anxiety was in just getting started. I found that once I got up there, I could still be nervous but get through it all OK. The toughest part was getting out of first gear.

So of all the practice that I did, I wanted to make sure my first 10% of the presentation was second nature. Walking up to the podium in front of hundreds of people who probably knew more than I did was like the road to execution! Getting started under those conditions, when the nerves were at their height, was the absolute toughest. So if I got through the first 10%, no matter how long the presentation needed to be, it was going to be downhill after that.

Try to focus on your start. For however much you already practice, practice 3 more times on the opening statements to give yourself more confidence in starting strong to carry through on the rest of it.

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