Here are some great places to practice your presentation skills:
- Join Toastmasters. Weekly meetings will get you on your feet and speaking in no time. With a mentor, a manual and a supportive environment, you will learn how to overcome anxiety, structure a speech, use gestures and vocal variety and speak persuasively. Toastmasters dues are $36 annually and $5 to $10 per meeting. Call (800) 993-7732 for the club nearest you.
- Take a Dale Carnegie course. The 12-session program teaches communication and human-relations skills. It can help you gain confidence before an audience and master the basics of effective speaking. The instructors and training are excellent, but the price tag is high ($1,075). Call (800) 231-5800 for more information.
For more help, check out these books:
- The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking, by Dale Carnegie (Pocketbooks, $6.99, 800-223-2348).
- How to Prepare, Stage, and Deliver Winning Presentations, by Thomas Leech (Amacom, $27.95, 800-262-9699).
- Would You Really Rather Die Than Give a Talk?, by Michael Egan (Amacom Books, $12.95, 800-262-9699).
- Secrets of Power Presentations, by William Hendricks, Micki Holliday, Recie Mobley and Kristy Steinbrecher (Career Press, $16.99, 800-CAREER-1).
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