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2 To the Reader There is a myth that great speakers are "born, not made," that certain individuals have the innate ability to stand in front of an audience with no anxiety and give a moving, dynamic speech. Well, that just isn't so! People we consider great speakers have usually spent years developing and practicing their craft. They had to start at the beginning and learn the basics of organization, preparation, delivery, and anxiety management. Once the basics were in hand, they needed to continue to build on their abilities. Professional athletes constantly practice the basics because they know that without such practice, they will not excel. To an outsider, the thought of a professional golfer spending hour after hour practicing the basics might seem ridiculous. But to that professional, the continued mastery of those basic skills is the very foundation of success. Learning to be a better speaker is similar to learning any activity. In the beginning, it can be frustrating. After a few lessons, in which you learn some theory and practice some of the basic techniques, skills usually improve. Learning to do anything well takes constant practice and mastery of the basics. Speaking is no different. Before becoming comfortable as a speaker, you need to