Public speaking can be a nerve-racking experience for those of us who are not used to it and one of the things we fear the most is the awkward silence. But pausing while giving a speech or presentation isn't necessarily a bad thing.
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If delivering a speech isn't intimidating enough, writing one can be just as difficult. And if you're dealing with a complex topic, it might be hard to gauge whether or not you've simplified that topic enough for people to understand it. One way to make sure you have is to practise that speech on a novice.
A good presentation is like a good joke — you don't want the whole thing to be too predictable or it loses all of its power. Keeping the "1, 2... 4! rule" in mind while you put your presentation together can help.
When you're building a presentation, you may be tempted to dive right into making the slides. Instead, take the time to draft it as an outline first. You may know your material, but the outline helps you focus on the important points without getting carried away.
Put your presentation's important information in the first minute to grab your audience's attention. You'll engage people more by showing them why they should listen — and make for a better presentation in the process.
I once showed up to a party alone, before any of my friends arrived. Instead of mingling, I hid in the bathroom to kill time and avoid talking to strangers. Embarrassing but true. For a shy person, social interaction can be a stomach-churning, anxiety-filled experience. It was for me, but I was able to get it under control with some work and become comfortable talking to strangers.