Summertime affords us increased opportunities to improve public speaking skills. For more advanced presenters, there are conferences, conventions, and other large venues. But don’t overlook smaller, low-ante networking meetings, lunch-and-learns, even weddings and social functions for wetting your speaking whistle.

Try out new ways to introduce your business, a colleague, or facilitate panel discussions. Presenting well is more easily accomplished when the stakes are low and the atmosphere less formal. More importantly, it is a crucial step toward reducing stage fright, while toning up new communication muscles.

If you don’t speak often or wait until new business or career advancement is on the line, pressure and anxiety builds. Even worse, you can have a meltdown, or avoid speaking altogether.

Step out slowly into the spotlight. The more you do, the better you become; the more you can assess what worked and didn’t work; and the sooner you can tackle bigger venues. Allow your speaking to bloom.

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