Public Speaking: Join a Networking Group

January 8th, 2009 by Frank Damelio

Networking-PhotoDid you know that the most challenging part of your presentation is the first minute?  Research shows that nerves spike the highest in the first minute followed by a steady calming until the wrap-up, at which point nerves spike again.

Even if you are not an entrepreneur or networker, if you want to truly improve your comfort level with public speaking, join a networking group.  Why?  In a typical BNI (Business Network International) you will have to do a sixty-second presentation about your business every meeting.

While it sounds easy, keep in mind that the first minute is really the most challenging part of any presentation.  By doing a formal one-minute presentation at every meeting, you are continually honing your skills in that one most challenging area.

If you’re not sold on this idea yet . . . wait!  Perhaps of equal value, you will learn by watching.  It is amazing how many people are not really listening to the presenter.  Only the great presenters capture the attention of the majority.  How do you know who these “great presenters” are?  Watch the eyes of the audience while each speaker presents.  On the rare occasion that you see everyone in rapt attention, take note of what qualities that presenter exhibits.  You’ll likely see: 1) strong voice projection 2) enthusiasm 3) purposeful movement 4) powerful pauses 5) moving and relevant stories 6) relevant humor 7) eye contact with one person at a time rather than scanning . . . and much more.

There you have it, networking not only helps you make valuable connections, it also sharpens your skill in facing that first minute in any presentation.

We’d love to hear any tips you have on public speaking for networkers.

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2 Responses to “Public Speaking: Join a Networking Group”

  1. Bella Says:

    It all makes sense to me now. I have noticed that when I do – let’s say, a 5 min presentation – I usually walk away feeling like I suceeded, even if I started out a little shaky. However – when I do a much shorter presentation – I usually walk away feeling like it didn’t go that great. I never really understood why, because I always assumed the shorter presentation would be much easier than the longer one, but thats not always so, because with the shorter presentation I do not have time to ‘recover’ and get over that first minute. I completely agree that the first minute is the most challenging and I think your suggestion of joining a networking group to help with this – is a great idea.

  2. Frank Damelio Says:


    I’m glad you made the connection. I admire your level of reflection and always appreciate your insight about speaking. I hope you have an opportunity at some point ahead to participate in a networking group to experience just how much it can enhance your comfort level with speaking. Until next time, Bella, happy public speaking.

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