Quora didn’t like this answer about speaking with confidence, for some reason, so I’ll share it with the world this way. I think it’s helpful, and I’d like to put it where it can do some good.
The original question was “Tomorrow I have a presentation and I don’t know how to start it. I feel afraid in front of people. What can I do?”
Here is my answer (and I can’t see a thing wrong with it, but it got “moderated”). It has only been edited to use more active voice. (I would have edited it more there, but I didn’t get the chance.) Continue reading →
I’m in the middle of a regular gig I love: training leaders for my college’s New Student Orientation leaders. We’ve already had our first event of the season, and we haven’t completed all of the training yet. Part of that training involves using a microphone effectively. Because of the timing of events in relation to training, we still have several leaders who have yet to have the microphone training.
During the first event, though, one of the folks who had not yet gone through the training wound up needing to speak on a microphone during a question-and-answer session. She later commented that it was the first time she had ever in her life held a microphone, much less used one–and she was pleasantly surprised that she really enjoyed it!
Lots of people speak these days. TED.com has sparked a revival of interest in both giving and hearing speeches. And while most TED speakers provide a good model, plenty of misconceptions still float around about speaking.
I’ve read a few posts lately mentioning that eye contact is hard for a speaker, even experienced ones. (One place I just saw it is in the very good article “5 Public Speaking Tips that Build Relationships.”) I agree! But I also want to push a little beyond the initial resistance we have to it.
As Dr. Michelle observes, “Making eye contact allows you to connect with your audience.” The emphasis here is on genuine contact. The old saws about picking out a spot on the back wall or looking at their foreheads do not work simply because they don’t establish contact. While the idea of contacting a stranger that intimately seems threatening at first, once you do you’ll discover something very pleasant: there is no such thing as an audience! Continue reading →
I’ve noticed the last few years that students seem to bring a slightly higher degree of beginning presentation skills into the classroom. I suspect this comes from growing up surrounded by hundreds of cable channels and YouTube.
It has even reached the point where the old saw about public speaking being the number one fear is no longer true. I thought perhaps it was, indeed, a steady trend of increasing confidence. If so, this semester doesn’t fit the trend. In fact, students have generally had more trouble with the second speech round than the first speech round. Continue reading →