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Surveys show that only the fear of loneliness and death trump the fear of speaking in public. You may be nodding in agreement as you read this. Having a room full of eyes focused on you and the collective judgment on every word you say—and how you say it—is a paralyzing fear for many. But for the majority of people, public speaking is just incredibly uncomfortable.

If you fall into this category, here are four ways to make public speaking slightly less painful—and maybe even enjoyable.

No. 1: Watch and Take Notes
Even at a very early age, we learn best by watching others, and this is a great way to learn to speak in public. Watch and learn while others present, speak or address large crowds. Watch their mannerisms and physical movement and listen to their delivery. You’ll definitely want to take notes on those presentations that moved you or compelled you to listen longer.

There are plenty of professional presentations online that you can use for learning purposes, as well. In fact, watch a series of popular TED Talks, and you might even learn something new about a fascinating topic.

No. 2: Develop Your Own Style
The key to watching others give presentations is not to mimic them or emulate their behaviors. The idea is to study what works and how they do it and pick up some simple tips for yourself. Be sure to play to your own strengths.

Giving a great presentation begins with being yourself, so the last thing you want to do is to try and become a different speaker. We all have our own thoughts and ideas, just like we all have our own presentation styles. Your personal style has the potential to resonate with people, so let it shine.

No. 3: Practice
Just like playing sports or an instrument, or almost anything we do, practice makes all the difference in the world. The best way to practice is to put yourself in simulated or real experiences.

If you have a planned presentation, see if you can get in the room or event area ahead of time so that you can get a sense of your surroundings. Run through the actual presentation as if the audience were in the room.

One of the most effective ways to practice is to record yourself on video. Play it back and watch for any ways you can improve. And, finally, the more you speak, the better you’ll be. You can even treat small conversations or speaking in front of small groups as an opportunity to practice and improve.

No. 4: Make It More About Them Than You
Don’t forget that in most cases, giving a presentation is about transferring information in a memorable way to others. That means that the presentation is more about them than it is about you. Spend less time worrying about how much they’ll like you—or how good of a speaker you may be—and concentrate more on how you would want to receive the information. This will help you craft the content in a digestible way and keep your focus on the purpose.

One of our primary goals at Realty ONE Group is to develop our people. We work together to build the careers of our real estate professionals, franchise owners and all of our team members.

Cory Vasquez is vice president of Corporate Communications, Realty ONE Group. For more information, please visit www.realtyonegroup.com.

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