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Practice

You’re not alone if you get anxious when you have to make a presentation. Taking a risk, such as speaking before a group, often makes people feel anxious. To a certain extent, being nervous can help you because it makes you alert, full of energy, and “up” for the presentation. By practicing, you can put this anxiety to work for you.

Building Confidence

When you practice your presentation, you’ll feel more confident and in control. Renowned psychiatrist Karen Horney conducted extensive study of the development of self-esteem and self-worth. She found that when an individual actually attempts something—intellectually or physically, be it a memory verse, an athletic event, a work promotion, or even a speech—the great majority of the time the individual will succeed. Yet, when a person does not make the attempt, he or she has an impression of failure. The dramatic finding is that for most people, their self-impression is one of failure rather than of success because most of the time they do not take a chance.16 One of my favorite communication consultants and coaches, Bert Decker, traced the confidence factor in himself and others. He found that about 95 percent of the time, individuals who attempt to speak—to communicate—succeed. Decker often asks this question of his seminar participants: “Why should you jeopardize every performance for the sake of that 5 percent risk?”17


  

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