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Overcome the fear of public speaking

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Let your imagination release your imprisoned possibilities.

Robert H. Schuller



What makes a person so attractive that people are magnetically drawn to them? Think of people
you are drawn to, that you like to be around. What makes them such people magnets?

Of course, physical attractiveness helps, as does celebrity. But for most of us who are
neither physical "10s" or famous, we can still become highly attractive to others. Here's how:

SHOW GENUINE INTEREST IN OTHERS

This behavior is in relatively short supply because so many people are self-centered or self-absorbed, more interested in how they are being seen than in others. Because most humans get great satisfaction from others' interest in them, when you bestow your interest on others, they like being around you. Everyone has a story to tell. Be curious and listen to their story.

Being curious is within your control. Remember the interpersonal style of the TV detective Columbo played by Peter Falk? Express genuine interest. He showed a non-intrusive curiosity that even suspects were willing to respond to. When you ask questions sincerely and gently, you'll learn a lot, and others will be honored that you want to know about them and their ideas.

BE EASY TO BE WITH

Have a light touch, and don't take yourself too seriously. Avoid being touchy - cactussy -
with lots of judgments and stern opinions. Don't be argumentative trying to be right. Be generous with compliments and open to others' points of view.

(These behaviors are also within your control.)

HAVE A GOOD SENSE OF HUMOR

Humor doesn't require you to have a stash of jokes to tell. (Joke-telling makes YOU, not them, the center of attention). Instead, humor involves being able to see the lighter side of life, to laugh at the foibles of humanity, and to acknowledge the silly side of yourself. Overly-serious people can be a drag, as you know. Don't be one of them.

BE AN ARTESIAN WELL OF INFORMATION

Be a person "in the know." Be aware of practical stuff ("Where can I get a good deal on a bedroom set?") as well as people ("Talk to George about that tech problem; he's a real maven about computing.") You can become a "hub" among people who will value you as one who knows
many others in some depth.

If we remain narrowly interested in only a few subjects and not widely knowledgeable, it's more difficult to talk about the many interests of people we meet. Being a narrow specialist can make us a bore. Be a generalist.

DON'T BE A KNOW-IT-ALL

Even if you know a lot, don't be a smart-ass. Being knowledgeable helps you relate to others,
but not if you use your knowledge to show off, one-up others, and try to have the last word.
Hold your knowledge lightly and don't feel com- pelled to always share what you know. Social wisdom requires discernment of when to speak and when to remain silent. (This is especially true when we're with children or young people.) Carry your knowledge with some humility.

 
Loren Ekroth 2006, All rights reserved

Loren Ekroth, Ph.D. is a specialist in human communication and
a national expert on conversation for business and social life. His
articles and programs strengthen critical communication skills for
business and professional people.

Contact at Loren@conversation-matters.com
Check resources and articles at www.conversation-matters.com.