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  • Public Speaking

    I'm looking for advice on public speaking.
    I hate presentations. I can talk on the phone all day long, send emails back and forth, do conference calls with video link, even have one-on-one discussions with clients, but put me in a room in front of a group of people and I become the blithering idiot. I guess I can deal with give and take, but not being the sole focus of attention.
    I've had various advice from ''take a course'' to ''join Toastmasters'' but neither of those seem right.
    Is it just practice makes perfect?




  • #2
    Let me speak of my own history.

    For about twenty years I did the same thing as you. I had to switch to another line because of physical problems and now I teach. That means being in the centre of the attention. What you encounter at that point is that a lot of the knowledge you have is that for a lot of people or there bosses isn't interesting. Fast without attention for detail (being it technical or inspirational) don't get appreciated. My workaround is to be the victim, I never tell people how things should be done. I explain how things work, after that, questions will come.

    From that point on I am the boss. Explaining ppi/dpi, vector and logo, thousands of ways to produce a pdf, and so on… Weaponed with a little of sarcasm, cynism and clear information upto a certain level I invite people to question me and explain their wrong interpretations.

    Start from there, have a mirror in front of you, have a person sitting in front of you who knows nothing of the subject and practice.

    That's how I did it…

    Comment


    • PrintDriver
      PrintDriver commented
      Editing a comment
      I like where that's coming from, Carlo. Thanks. My problem is details.

  • #3
    Imagine everyone is naked... or maybe it's you that is naked... I can't remember. Somebody naked is supposed to make it easier though.

    Comment


    • PrintDriver
      PrintDriver commented
      Editing a comment
      Well, if it's the audience....there are instances where that would be just too darned weird - and possibly illegal...
      And if it's me...well then there's no use worrying about a crowd. Other people might wonder why everyone is running though...

      I've tried scripts/cards. It sounds exactly like I'm reading from a script or cards.

    • Kool
      Kool commented
      Editing a comment
      Now that I think about it I believe it was underwear, not naked. Naked people would be a distraction for sure. Best not think about any naked people while you are giving your talk.

  • #4
    Over the years I've gotten better at speaking in front of groups, but I'm not sure "why". I guess I've just been less concerned with what people think. Ha. However, I will say, if it's a presentation that you're giving that has a pretty focused "script" of sorts. I've found that writing down brief notes on cards, sheets of paper, etc. and "rehearsing" by reading through them until they become ingrained helps you to not "blabber" and get scattered.

    __________________________________________________
    I like to beat up pacifists, because they don't fight back ...

    N.A.N.K.A. "We Kick Because We Care."

    Comment


    • #5
      This is probably my biggest, irrational phobia, and it isn't at all consistent.

      I can jump on an internet forum and toss myself out in front of thousands of people without giving it a second thought. With only a little more difficulty, I can sit at a table and make a formal presentation and answer questions. Stand me up in front of an audience, though, and my mind goes completely blank with all of my mental resources being devoted to doing everything possible to restrain myself from bolting off the stage.

      Comment


      • #6
        B I will admit, that if I'm talking in front of a larger group, I like having a podium, table ... something to be able to "hide behind" or at the least, something to hold onto, etc. or if it is an actual screen presentation, I need something in my hands, a pointer, or what not. If it's just me i feel more awkward.

        I should also add that I don't do this with any sort of regularity, and I've never had to present in front of a crowd larger than probably 100 people or so. I certainly feel more comfortable with smaller sizes of 25-50 people. I'm not sure how comfortable I'd be in front of hundreds. Ha, not that would be likely to happen.

        I think the biggest trick, is overcoming any concern with what people think of you, unless I suppose public speaking is part of your profession or livelihood, then I guess you'd have to be concerned about your audience's views of how well you did.
        __________________________________________________
        I like to beat up pacifists, because they don't fight back ...

        N.A.N.K.A. "We Kick Because We Care."

        Comment


        • #7
          As someone who used to feel like having to give a presentation was the end of the world, it's really helped me to practice what I have to say out loud. I'd record my voice on my phone to get used to hearing it, or do it in front of a mirror. It sounds stupid, but somehow it's helped me. Recording it also gives you a sense of how long you'll actually be, so during the presentation it helps to realize you're getting through it and almost done.

          Comment


          • #8
            Good speaking isn't all on the speaker speaking. Like graphic design, the garbage-in > garbage-out principle applies. The best speakers are always saying something powerful, compelling, interesting, and important. That's not all a product of speaking skill. Content is critical; it must be relevant and carefully arranged to produce logical paths to audience stimulation. Like a designer, the speaker must play to the strengths of the material, engage the audience in an emotional landing area where its members are likely to be comfortable and receptive, and carefully consider where and when to hit the high notes.

            On an inner, self-handling level, going up to speak can be freakin' awkward and unnerving. It helps if you're convinced your material is something the audience needs and wants, otherwise you'll never be able to convince them of it. If you know and believe the material well enough that you don't have to recite it, all you have to do is get up and explain it the same way you would if you were just trying to help a co-worker, sibling or friend understand it. It helps...a lot...if you're funny...just for a moment, maybe a few minutes into it. Even a gentle chuckle in the room can make you more likeable in their eyes, and they will be less intimidating in yours. Then the rest of it goes much easier.

            Good material—own it—then act like you own everything.
            I'd rather be killed than come to your party, but if you don't invite me, I'll kill myself.

            Comment


            • #9
              Originally posted by PrintDriver View Post
              Is it just practice makes perfect?
              I'm hardly the one to be giving advice on this since I'm afflicted with the same problem, but I assume it gets easier with practice. I used to have the same sort of stage fright being the center of attention in meetings, but eventually got better after enduring it a couple of dozen times with nothing horrible happening to me.

              With me, there's an intellectual knowledge that standing up in front of others at a microphone shouldn't be that difficult. I know my stuff fairly well, and I do OK in less formal settings. In a small group, I can hold my own with no problems.

              Despite knowing that, my subconscious doesn't agree or buy into that logic. Instead, it starts sending warning signals (anxiety, followed by acute fear), then goes into panic mode the harder I push. By the time I've forced myself to use my badly shaking legs to walk up to the microphone, my subconscious voice begins tossing everything possible in my way to prevent what, I assume, it thinks is a confrontation with death itself or, at least, unbearable humiliation.

              Maybe after successfully doing it a few times, my subconscious voice would back off some once it realized the whole thing is actually survivable.

              Then again, the trauma associated with my mouth being unable to speak, having my mind go completely blank, my legs giving out from under me and my subsequent collapse onto the floor followed by EMTs hauling me out of the crowded auditorium accompanied by laughter and mocking from the audience would be so traumatic that I'd never dare leave the house again.

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