I confess to not loving to exercise until quite recently.  What has caused this late-in-life change in attitude? To my surprise, I have discovered that certain fitness classes can actually be fun. When engaged, I do not look at the clock every few minutes and wonder, “Is it over yet?â€A woman sitting at a table with papers and a laptop.

So I have been thinking about how to make public speaking more fun for people who tend to dread the thought of doing it, as I used to do with exercise.

Here are some how-to-make-speaking-more fun recommendations:

First, think about how wonderful you will feel when it’s over and you receive:

a) a ton of enthusiastic applause, b) a rewarding “yes†response, or c) ka-ching, ka-ching … dollars floating into your bank account or your nonprofit’s from closing the deal.

In the exercise arena, a parallel sentiment is to envision yourself wearing a size or two smaller, looking more buff in your workout clothes, and otherwise feeling good about your health and fitness.

A woman sitting at a table with papers and a laptop.Second, while you are gathering your content, try to regard the process as an exciting and enjoyable treasure hunt. You are harvesting pieces of gold from your brain, files, experience and heart. You are also bringing value to your future audience, meeting, and presentation.

Third, when you are doing the heavy-lifting part–deciding what to keep and what to leave out –avoid doing it the same way every time. I used to find lifting weights terribly boring until I met a fabulous instructor named Robby who keeps coming up with new positions and angles in every class.  You can start at the end or the middle when you’re editing. Change it up and you’ll find yourself being more creative and receptive to this critical part of public speaking.

And fourth, turn your rehearsals into your own personal theater production.  Pull out the clothes you plan to wear and keep them nearby. Make your visuals colorful, eye-catching and humorous when possible. Laugh at yourself in the mirror or on video. Put music on to keep your spirits up.

Please understand that my transition from near couch potato to exerciser has not been overnight or pain free, physically or emotionally. I do try to laugh at myself as much as possible!  If I look around the room, it seems that the veteran exercisers know exactly what to do and appear to not be straining at all. You may feel the same way about public speaking, but I promise, as my mother always said, “This, too, shall pass.â€

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