5 Tips for Speaking in front of your HOA

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For homeowners and board members alike, a time may come when you have to speak publicly, whether in a board meeting or in front of the HOA. Get ready for such an occasion with these five tips. 

1. Create a Speaking Script

One of the best things you can do to improve your credibility as a speaker is to deliver your speech extemporaneously. Not having to rely on notes or slides will make you appear confident and eager to discuss the topic, even if you are not. To do this, minimize your notes to a few words per bullet point. Anymore than that, and you might start reading off the script rather than making critical eye contact with the audience. Practice with a full-sentence outline, but present with a minimized version.

2. Organize your Speech

Organization helps readers follow along. Because they have only your words to listen to, it is vital that you make transitions between major points explicitly clear. Begin your speech with an introduction that captures the audience's attention and reviews what you will be speaking about. Follow with your main points, each backed up with supporting evidence, and end with a resounding conclusion. Review your speech many times before presenting to ensure good organization.  

3. Cleanse your Speech of Fallacies

If you have ever taken an English or Communications class, you probably know about logical fallacies. Fallacies are flaws in logic, and can deteriorate your argument very easily (especially if your audience can identify and name them). Have someone else read over your speech, or briefly educate yourself on the most common fallacies to avoid including them in your speech.

4. Practice Practice Practice

If you have time before your speech, practice as often as possible. Practicing solidifies your knowledge of the topic and can reduce your nerves on the day of the speech. The best way to fully utilize this is to practice for friends or family members, in front of a mirror, or while being filmed. You will quickly notice quirks about yourself that you wouldn't notice normally such as swaying, fidgeting with your hands, or stuttering.  

5. Reduce your Nerves

If you get nervous before or during a speech (and let’s face it, we all do to some degree), do not let that waver you. There are many ways for you to reduce their nerves with breathing exercises, meditation, and continuous practicing. Visiting the venue, imagining yourself giving the speech, or even a few quiet minutes alone can also help. Research the best way for your to relax, and if all else fails, remember to fake it until you make it.

There comes a time in everyone’s life when you will have to speak in front of a group of people. Be prepared for that time by speaking with notes, organizing your speech, making sure you are not using fallacies, practicing, and relaxing to reduce your nerves. However, the most important thing to have is an attitude of success.

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Source: Neighborhood Link - Sabrina Robinson
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