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Public SpeakingI had to smile when I saw this recent post by Forbes debunking three common myths about public speaking. In the post, author and lecturer Ken Sterling debunks the idea that only extroverts can excel at the art of speaking in public, and I could not agree more. In our media training classes, workshops and programs, in fact, it is often the more introverted who are able to focus in on key messages and avoid filling silences.

He also debunks the idea that someone has to be funny to win over a crowd. This one hits home for me, as it is my own Achilles Heel in public speaking. Hilarious in real life (obviously, duh), I often make the mistake of trying too hard to come off that same way when making formal comments or speeches.

To read about these and the other myths he debunks, be sure to click here. Below, I share a few other gems, both for those preparing to speak publicly as well as those preparing to speak to the media, we teach in our media training programs:

  • Know your audience.
  • Take a few deep breaths backstage before the speech, or before you sit down for an interview
  • Practice, but don’t be rehearsed to death
  • Be prepared. Don’t be afraid to bring notes. Or better yet – an outline.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Tell the truth.
  • Stammer a bit? Miss a line – don’t apologize. Just keep going.
  • If in a setting with a member of the media, it’s okay to say, “I don’t know.” It’s not okay to say, “no comment.” It’s similarly not okay to say, “this is off the record…”

HMA Public Relations develops custom media and public speaking training programs to brands and businesses across the country.

Alison Bailin
Alison Bailin
Senior Account Executive Alison has a lot to say…about pretty much everything...all the time. From the current state of public relations to the social media impact on Shark Week to crisis communications in the sports world, Alison’s blogs are focused on “amusing through her PR musings,” and then some. Check out Alison's full bio

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