Monthly Archives: May 2009

Are you a fluent speaker?

 

Fellow Speaker,

Here is a simple truth: fluent speakers are easy to listen to and understand! One of the easiest ways to improve your speaking ability is to become more fluent. How often have you heard a speaker “um,” “er” and “ah,” or worse, offer a flippant “you know” as a form of punctuation? It is painful to listen to and gives the impression the speaker is unprepared and unsure of himself.

If you fall into this trap of using “um,” “er” and “ah” as your form of punctuation when you speak be warned: it is a certain way to inform your listeners you are an unpolished performer! And the net result is your audience will switch off and no matter how hard you try you won’t be able to get them back on board despite the importance of your message or how cleverly written your speech.

Does this happen to you? If so, what can you do to improve the situation? Firstly, make a recording of yourself and take note – how often to you punctuate with an “um,” “er” or “ah?” Next, rehearse your next speech and when you hear yourself utter an “um,” “er” or “ah” stop in your tracks, pause and breathe naturally before starting again. Each time you pause mentally commit to eliminating your tendency to punctuate with “um,” “er” and “ah.”

This little exercise can be difficult to do at first but the impact it will have on your performance will be nothing short of miraculous. Soon you will sound more fluent and less confused. And best of all you’ll be easy to listen to and understand! If you have used this exercise to good effect why not share your experience with the readers of The Speakers College?

Bobby Livingston
Founder
The Speakers College

 

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Convert your nervous energy into powerful performance?

 

Fellow Speaker,

Jerry Seinfeld, actor and comedian, once said “The average person at a funeral would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy.” Is this how you feel? If it is you are not alone: fear of public speaking is commonplace and affects nearly 75% of the population. Indeed, survey after survey confirms that people fear public speaking more than death, divorce, and moving house………

Even seasoned professionals, politicians, actors and comedians, are notably affected by stage-fright:

• Harold Macmillan, former British Prime Minister, was well known for respecting the importance of his speeches by being violently sick just before delivering them;

• Ewan McGregor, the actor, was so anxious when playing Iago in Othello in London he was described as being “numb with fear” and now practises yoga to help him remain calm; and,

• Dame Helen Mirren, the famous stage and film actress, explains she was only able to give her Oscar acceptance speech because she had practised her words and delivery for days in advance – despite not knowing if she had won!

Public speaking, just like acting and comedy, is a discipline that easily claims its unprepared victims. Consequently, the number of performers who have suffered stress symptoms in these fields is legion. Yet with professional support you can convert your nervous energy into powerful performance. You can do this simply by using the progressive relaxation and mental rehearsal technique offered via SPEAK UP! – The Speakers College’s personal and group training programme.

To find out more about SPEAK UP! please contact me directly by clicking over the BLOGROLL entry? I look forward to hearing from you……

Bobby Livingston
Founder
The Speakers College

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Time to get EMOTIONAL?

 

Fellow Speaker,

Emotion is at the heart of all inspiring speech. If you are new to public speaking this can be difficult to understand – after all, you don’t want to look stupid or be undermined by expressing your inner-most feelings and thoughts to an often sceptical, judgemental world?

Yet, history reminds you it is only when public speakers are fully aware of their emotions that they become inspiring to listen to and watch. Consider the following examples:

  • Socrates in 399BC at the court in Athens when speaking passionately in defence of his now renowned Socratic Method of thinking;
  • Patrick Pearse, founder member of The Irish Volunteers, in Dublin in 1915 delivering an intensely personal and highly charged graveside eulogy to O’Donovan Rossa – the inspirational figure behind the Irish freedom movement;
  • Martin Luther King Jr in 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial inspiring a nation and future generations by speaking from the heart, regaling his audience with “I have a dream!”

To become such an inspiring speaker demands artistry, the ability to tell a compelling story, to sense and somehow externalise the moods and emotions within as professional actors do. And, as if this were not enough, you are expected to be fully in control from the beginning through the middle to your ultimate conclusion.

If public speaking is a challenge for you, if you feel too tense and unable to open-up, if you really want to get something off your chest but don’t know where to start, it’s time to learn from the history books, it’s “Time to get EMOTIONAL!”

Bobby Livingston
Founder
The Speakers College

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