You can learn to present! – Public Speaking #3

Somebody has recently asked my husband (a great speaker!) for tips on how to learn public speaking. The asker was, among other things, concerned about his voice being too monotonous. My husband recommended an acting class and I agree. I’m confident that the basis of my being comfortable with public speaking was an acting class I took when I was 18ish. The acting teacher was also a voice trainer and helped us with body tension, (stage) presence and speaking from your body (not your throat).

No matter what part of presenting you are concerned about, you can work on it! Learning to work with your body and voice is one thing. Doing a presentation training is another. A good one will record you and you’ll get to watch yourself present. Really enlightening! You’ll also learn how to structure a talk. If you’ve got stage fright, rehearse a lot. Practice will give you confidence. If you’re afraid of audience questions, ask your friends to simulate a (hostile) audience. Again, practice will give you confidence. After you’ve actually gone out and given a talk you’ll learn it’s not so bad 🙂

Presenting is a learnable skill! I’ve given talks 1-2 talks per year for 15+ years. I was doing okay, but I wasn’t a great speaker. Last year, for the first time in my life, public speaking became part of my job. I created 3 different talks and presented 6 times and it has made a huge difference: I gave the Open Friday talk 4 times and the last time was the best talk I’ve ever given. It’s not only becoming more familar with the material, but also getting much better at delivering. I learned which the (unexpectedly) funny parts are and acted them out. My attitude changed from a teacher-mindset to a performer-mindset. And it made my talks better as in more entertaining, while still delivering the same material. I’m glad I got the chance to witness this change. The acting class really paid off, I guess.

Hopefully your training – whichever one you need – will too!