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Oh, public speaking, you're awful

  1. May 18, 2016 #1

    ProfuselyQuarky

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    So, I'm pretty good at writing (how I love my transitional phrases :biggrin:), but public speaking is my downfall ... my deep, deep downfall. I just had to give a speech at school today and, although I got compliments, they were from friends so that doesn't really count. I can't help going "uhh" or "um" and I am just horrible and can't sound "natural". Also, it's awful tempting to just read my speech quickly and escape the front stage from all the eyes staring at me :olduhh:

    So are you good at public speaking and speech-giving? How often do you have to do it? Is this really a skill that everyone should have?
     
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  3. May 18, 2016 #2

    berkeman

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    It's definitely an important skill for professional life, and you get better the more you practice. But there are also a lot of tips that can help -- do a forum search for ToastMasters -- that should turn up some threads with good tips. (Also see if there is a ToastMasters group in your area that you can check out)... :smile:
     
  4. May 18, 2016 #3

    berkeman

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  5. May 18, 2016 #4

    fresh_42

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    Well, it could be trained. There are several methods to do. Forget about the old "imagine they are all naked trick" - that doesn't work.
    Half the race is a good preparation and time management. Then you must know that over 90% of our language is body language. So its much more important what your body says than what you actually phrase. So don't hide yourself behind desks, paper or pencils. If there are people in the audience that disturb you by doing something other than listen, take a step toward them or raise your voice, but only a little. That will catch them. You can also simply ask a specific person whether they have questions or so. That puts you in the position that knowledge is on your side.
    Most people (I think it's about 75%) are visual people. So you have to feed them. Not by short skirts, that might work as well, but I mean charts, simple figures and alike. Have a look on youtube to some old (Richard) Feynman lectures - they are inspiring! You will be surprised how little he actually writes on the board and is still giving enough of visual information to know what it's all about.

    To listen to music beforehand can also be useful. It can push you. Just don't listen to Tchaikovsky. Rock is better.
    And don't be afraid of mistakes. It happens, so what? The more self confident you appear the less they count.
    Practice it as much as you can at school - it's a safe playground (what could happen? nothing!) and it will be of great use later on.
     
  6. May 18, 2016 #5

    ProfuselyQuarky

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    Wow, I never heard of that before. Mmm, toast. Thanks, berkeman, something new to read about :smile:

    EDIT: Oh, wow, there are hundreds near my house!
    EDIT: Oh, wait, if I join, I'll have to talk in front of people :H
    Yeah, I wave my hands a lot, but I always think people think that it's annoying.
    I'll look into those lectures, I've wanted to for some time now, actually. My public speaking has little to do with charts and figures, though.
    Aaah, yes. This one hurts. Today's speech was actually a campaign speech. I tried to sound confident, but that probably failed. And making mistakes in front of people (:nb)) ... I guess practice is all I can do, really ... along with eating toast.

    Thanks fresh 42, great ideas :smile: You, too, berkeman!
     
  7. May 18, 2016 #6

    berkeman

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    LOL. Does your high school have a Speech Club or Debate Club? I was in the Speech Club at my high school, and it turned out to be a huge help in my public speaking skills and confidence. :smile:
     
  8. May 18, 2016 #7

    ProfuselyQuarky

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    Nah, we just have a mock trial team, but that could be even worse, because you have to work with real attorneys and talk in front of real judges.
     
  9. May 18, 2016 #8

    berkeman

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    Sounds like fun! :smile:
     
  10. May 18, 2016 #9

    Choppy

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    There's some excellent advice on oral presentations in this Insights from Zapper Z.
    Oral Presentations
     
  11. May 18, 2016 #10

    ProfuselyQuarky

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    Sure…maybe. I would feel sorry for the victim of harassment that I would be assigned to defend, though :smile: And if I joined, my awful speaking skills would affect the entire team.
     
  12. May 18, 2016 #11

    ProfuselyQuarky

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    Thanks, Choppy, I haven’t seen that one. I think another thing that made today particularly bad was the fact that I was talking about myself. It was nothing technical.

    At least for technical presentations, I usually have a screen to stare at instead of people...jeez, I really am horrible at this!
     
  13. May 18, 2016 #12

    fresh_42

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    So? OPP! I know it is hard - I suffer the same disease - but it is better not think about what other might think. That's a loss of concentration and senseless.

    It's worth it! Very entertaining.

    You can bring in some stuff from elsewhere. Not that I'm a Trump fan, I've already laughed enough about him, but he knows how to speak. E.g. he often holds a piece of paper or a newspaper in the air and pretends he quotes it. Do you think anybody checks whether it's really written there? It is a simple visual capture emphasizing his words by a presumably reliable source. Plus he repeats some phrases as it made them even more true. Repeating (among others) is nothing but a rhetorical method.

    It gets better with practice. Have you never been really angry when someone obviously stupid as bread talked in a self confident manner as if he were Einstein himself? To me that happens a lot. One reason I find it easier to watch CNN and American politics than my politicians here. I cannot stand them. I'm not saying you should become this way. Never ever, but don't let them win easily. You're by far smarter than most of these persons.

    Perhaps an anecdote at the end what once had happen to me.
    There once has been a virus which came per email and it's title was "I love you". We had a lot of fun counting on how many of those we got. Nevertheless it was really wide spread and a plague. During those times my company changed its various email systems across the globe to an exchange server hosted at the head office in the UK. They held a couple of talks on this issue and at the end of one I stood up and asked my British colleague: "Jack, let me ask something. In case of I love you ..." That was how far I came. He suddenly responded: "Oh, you better don't" and my American colleague simply said: "Fresh, you might want to rephrase this!"
    The punchline here is: Don't be afraid. Things happen.
     
  14. May 18, 2016 #13

    ProfuselyQuarky

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    Actually, some guys were calling the VP candidate “Trump” for that very reason. Of course, they were teasing and only poking fun.
    How would you know? :-p:biggrin:
    Haha!! That’s hilarious (sorry). I understand, thanks, Fresh :smile:

    On that note, I can't wait to see the results....
     
  15. May 18, 2016 #14

    fresh_42

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    I simply know. Have been around here on this rock for a while. A propos rock: Don't forget! The 25th is Towel Day.
     
  16. May 18, 2016 #15

    ProfuselyQuarky

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    You said that on some other thread, too....
     
  17. May 18, 2016 #16

    Mark44

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    I've noticed that a lot of people think they have to fill every available moment with something, but sometimes can't think of anything, so lapse into "uhh" or whatever. It's okay to not say anything at times, to let what you've just said sink in. It takes practice to be aware of what you're saying, and to conciously not pack in these nervous time fillers.
    Try to resist that urge. Many speakers memorize what they're going to say, or are able to work from a short list of bullet points on note cards.
     
  18. May 18, 2016 #17

    jim hardy

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    Toastmasters is great experience.
    The "Dale Carnegie Course" teaches technique and is excellent but pricey. The basic rule is "Speak from your own experience".

    Writing out the speech is just about the worst thing you can do.
    Observe popular speakers. They seem to be just conversing with the audience as individuals.

    If i have one piece of advice it would be
    .......................
    As you organize the material for your speech, find some anecdotes from your past that relate to each of your main points .
    Open your speech with one.
    That does two things
    1. Puts you at ease because you are relating something with which you are intimately familiar, your own past.
    2. Makes audience feel you are opening up to them.

    You'll see the effect in the audience's body language. And you'll feel more at ease.

    ........................

    Carnegie's book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" was the textbook for the public speaking course I took. It shows up in thrift and secondhand bookstores. I recommend it.
    https://www.amazon.com/How-Win-Friends-Influence-People/dp/0671027034


    old jim
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  19. May 18, 2016 #18

    dlgoff

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  20. May 18, 2016 #19
    Would you mind showing us a link to your public speaking videos, any short interviews, debates or lectures you have made ?
     
  21. May 19, 2016 #20

    fresh_42

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    I'm afraid there are none. At least none that I know of. The habit of people recording everything and all the time wherever they go is a rather recent habit. Smartphones aren't that long available. Some of what I quoted has been from a seminar on communication and representation I once attended. Probably the most useful course I ever took.
     
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