Life Lessons for the American Gentleman

Question for AG: The Art of Public Speaking

Dear the American Gentleman,

I have recently begun working for an insurance company and believe it is a fine career to start with after college. However, I am not the best public speaker and have trouble explaining things to future clients. Are there any ways a Gentleman can learn to be a better speaker and be more confident around strangers?
Sincerely, 
A Respectable Gentleman.
Public speaking is about confidence and preparation. First, practice speaking to the mirror or a wall. Go over the things you want to say, just talk, develop the ideas out loud in private.  After you have done this, work with a small group of friends or colleagues. Have them ask you questions and answer them as convincingly as you possibly can, even if you do not know the answer. The object of this exercise is to build confidence in your ability to think on your feet. 
Second, be prepared. Study your company, your clients, your content. Know everything off of the top of your head, the same way you would have for an exam. Preparation will give you extra confidence. This will make you seem as if you are thinking on your feet without actually having to do so. 
Third, make eye contact and speak slowly and clearly. People will automatically trust and have faith in you for looking them directly in the eye and telling them what you have to say. Speak slowly and clearly so they are not tempted to interrupt you and so you maintain their attention. 
Public speaking is an art. It is something I have taught at both a high school and collegiate level. It is the most valuable skill I have come across in a business setting. I highly recommend taking public speaking classes if the problems persist. 
  • 28 December 2012
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