Take concrete action to be well prepared

The decisions you make about content and design will help convert your high adrenaline level to enthusiasm. Whenever you have a choice, select a subject that you know well. Be extremely well prepared. Develop interesting, organized visual aids so that people's eyes will be on them, not just on you. (But don't plan on hiding behind them!)

Put together a particularly interesting introduction and conclusion. Rehearse them to the point of near memorization. A well-mastered introduction will provide your talk with a solid framework to get you beyond your initial nervousness; most people find that after the first few moments of speaking, their anxiety lowers significantly. The well-mastered conclusion will leave your audience with a good impression even if you should stumble somewhere in the body of the presentation.

Don't memorize anything word for word, however. For one thing, it can sound stuffy and insincere. For another, if you forget one word or phrase, you will lose your place - and probably your composure. Instead, memorize the outline's key points, along with key words you want to use. You will sound polished and professional, yet natural.

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