With time and practice, you will improve

Public speaking is a complex and challenging activity, so very few people are able to master it in two or three attempts. Polished professional speakers have typically put in years of hard work to refine their presentation skills, so don’t be demoralized when you witness a “perfect” speech. I can all but guarantee that in their early days, those speakers stumbled a bit too.

Sometimes it’s difficult to recognize your own small improvements, so it can be useful to pay attention to how others make strides, if only to remind yourself that you, too, are improving. For example, as I watched Mitt Romney’s Republican National Convention speech, I was struck by how much he’s improved even since the beginning of this campaign. In earlier addresses he’s been called “stiff” and “robotic,” but at the RNC, he seemed much more comfortable and impressive on stage. That’s because of a whole lot of practice and coaching, I’m sure.

Another public figure who’s improved a great deal is the Duchess of Cambridge, who gave her first speech abroad while in Malaysia today:

Is she the most impressive speaker you’ve ever watched? No, she’s still a little uncomfortable in front of a crowd, but look at how much better she has become since her first public address, which Kendall Martin wrote about back in March:

In six months she’s come a long way.

The next time you watch someone who seems like a natural on stage, remind yourself that he or she probably invested a good amount of time and practice into honing that “natural” aura.

Who do you think has become a much better speaker?

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