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"Become" the audience.

Don’t think about yourself and your anxieties. Rather, become outward-focused. Visualize yourself as part of the audience ready to enjoy your performance. This not only will calm you, but help you better connect with your audience.

· Breathe.

When people get nervous, their breathing tends to get shallow, which means they’re taking in less oxygen and functioning less effectively. Taking at least one deep cleansing breath will calm your nerves and keep you in the present.

· Carry Yourself with "Presence."

Much of “presence” is how you carry yourself. Stand with your weight evenly distributed on the balls of both feet so you feel balanced and can move easily. Carry your rib cage high and contract your stomach muscles.

When sitting: Sit with your rib cage high and inclined slightly forward. If at a table, put your forearms on the table resting them midway between your wrist and elbow, hands clasped.

· Voice Control.

Put resonance in your voice by contracting your abdominal muscles and speaking from the diaphragm.

· Inflection.

Speak in as low a tone as feels natural to you, and always end sentences on a lower pitch.

· Get comfortable with Silence.

Learn to be comfortable with silence. Don’t step on your lines or someone else’s by rushing in to fill conversational pauses. Silence adds power to your message and signals that you are confident and thoughtful.

· Use Eye Contact to Connect.

Don’t make the mistake of scanning the audience. Instead, lock eyes with different individuals in various sections of the room, changing sets of eyes as you finish each thought.

When speaking one-on-one: Maintain eye contact with your partner by looking from one eye to the other - not with the swinging regularity of a metronome, but as though you were planting a message in each eye. This not only will make your eyes sparkle, but will touch the listener and make you appear sincere.

· Be Enthusiastic

Enter the room radiating energy and purpose. As former actor and Nobel Prize winning play and screenwriter David Mamet said, "You should go on stage as if to a hot date, not as if to give blood."

· Make a Graceful Exit.

And finally, if you want to be brought back for a second or third curtain call, exit on a high note -- and always leave them wanting more!

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