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Think back to your childhood and what it was like trying to hit a baseball for the first time.

Now think back to a recent presentation or the first time you had to give a big presentation.

You may have stumbled, gotten stuck on a word, or failed to connect with your goal.

Learning to speak in public is like learning to play a sport.

  • It’s physical
  • Practice builds muscle memory
  • You get better with repetition
  • It’s more fun as you get better
  • You need to focus. My dad used to tell my sister and I “keep your eye on the ball” during batting practice. It’s great advice and it applies here. If you don’t have your eye on the ball, if you’re not clear on your message, it’s hard to have an impact.
  • A positive mindset helps. Are you more likely to hit a homerun standing on the mound with your eyes closed or if you practiced and have a specific goal in mind?

You probably didn’t knock the ball out of the park on the first try.

You may have lost your balance, spun around, fell over, struck out.

But you showed up and you practiced. So if you’re feeling discouraged about where your presentation skills are today, keep practicing. The good news is that presentation skills are something you learn.

So if you’re panicked about a presentation, start here:

Set an objective

Answer the question “What’s the main message I want my audience to walk away with?

Review your content

Ask yourself whether each piece of information is steering the audience toward your objective.

Practice

Set aside 10 minutes a day to practice your presentation out loud.

And remember, how you feel about your speaking skills today is not an indicator of how you’re going to feel next week, next month, or next year.

Madeline Schwarz works with designers, creatives, and technical people who want their ideas seen, heard and respected. She teaches people how to articulate their thoughts, communicate the value of their work, and share their ideas in ways that their teammates and clients understand. Madeline teaches a small group class called Speak with Impact, facilitates workshops on presentation skills and team communication, and coaches clients one on one. Sign up for Madeline's 10 Tips to Boost your Presentation Skills at https://www.madelineschwarzcoaching.com/10-tips