Archive for February, 2009

A small task

February 28, 2009

jukebox on whiteThis week I have a small task for you. I would like you to choose one of the three options below to complete.

Option 1

Find your favorite piece of music and listen to the piece, write down why you like it. Do you like the tempo, the highs and lows is it the chords that are used or the words? Think about what attracts you to this particular song.

Option 2

Watch your favorite movie and as above, write down what you like about the story, is it the characters, is it the drama or excitement, how does the story start and end.

Option 3

Read your favorite book, poem or story and as with the film look at where the story starts, how are the characters described? what words are used and how does the story end.

You may be wondering why I’ve set you this task but over the next few weeks all will be revealed. We’ll be looking at why particular pieces attract us and how we can use similar principles and styles in our public speaking.

Keep speaking – Carrol

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Just Relax

February 20, 2009

pier1This morning I woke up to see a huge spider sitting just near the bedroom door.

My heart started pounding, I was getting anxious, I wanted to run from the room screaming as spiders are not my favorite things to see at the best of times, much less first thing in the morning, but it was blocking the doorway and I had no way out.

Panic was starting to take hold. I realise I had to stop it before it got out of control.

As I reflect on this incident, these symptoms reminded me of the way some of my students have said they felt about public speaking: Heart racing, panic, unable to think logically.

What do I tell my students when they feel like this “just relax”.

Believe it or not this can be achieved.

1. Breathe – if you’re starting to panic, taking a couple of deep breathes will really help. Breathe deeply into the abdomen as this will help to relax the diaphragm and provide the brain with more oxygen allowing you to think more logically. 

2. Relax the shoulders and neck – roll the shoulders forwards and backwards, lift one shoulder up toward the ear and then the other. Carefully roll the head in a full circle and then back the other way.

3. Self talk – keep self talk positive “I will give an incredible presentation” Every time you start to think negative, give yourself a pinch on the arm to remind yourself to replace the negative thought.

4. Visualise – The mind can’t tell the difference between a real event and a visualised event. Visualise yourself giving your speech, picture yourself being the star of the show and revel in how great it feels.

Now repeat after me: “If I can see it, I can be it.”

As I stood there looking at the spider, I realised that I had blown the incident out of proportion.

The spider, while big, was tiny compared to myself. I took a couple of deep breathes, told myself the spider wasn’t going to hurt me. I visualised it sitting there looking at me worrying about what I was going to do and could it run away before I noticed it.

Once I had relaxed I was able to walk calmly out the bedroom door.

I feel I’ve now conquered my fear of spiders, so I know you can conquer your fear of public speaking.

Just Relax

Keep speaking – Carrol

Hot Stuff

February 8, 2009

flameHave you ever noticed that some times you’re on fire when you give a presentation?

Everything is going your way; no nerves, the audience is listening and laughing, you speak effortlessly and at the end of the presentation people actually come up to you and tell you how much they enjoyed your segment.

Why is it, that some times you can do no wrong and other times everything seems to go wrong?

I had one of these hot presentations the other day. I don’t think I prepared any more than usual, I don’t think I worked harder than usual, so why was this one so much better than others?

Your audience can have a lot to do with your presentations: how well do they know each other, how much have they endured before you speak, how interested are they in your topic and how well you connect with them can make the difference between a good, bad or hot presentation.

Other things like the time of day you speak, the venue, distractions – both visual and noisy can all have an impact on your presentation.

You, as the presenter, have to try and factor everything in to ensure you give the best presentation you possibly can on the day, but sometimes the gods are just smiling on you and you’re “Hot Stuff”.

Keep speaking – Carrol