Sunday, August 10, 2008
12:04:26 AM EDT
The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public,
I stopped briefly in my career to give some seminars in public speaking. My clients were all people in the business world. I asked them to prepare a 3 minute speech for the first afternoon. Most of them thought they couldn't speak for 3 minutes. But they did.
The two biggest problems I faced with them were A. the feeling that they didn't have enough of interest to say and B stage fright.
I taught them how to prepare a script and to read it while still keeping eye contact with the listeners. I had them prepare a talk and deliver it from memory. I taught them how to speak extemporaneously, which means speaking from notes. And I taught them how to ad lib.
I taught them Aristotle's system of rhetoric: logos, pathos and ethos. That is basically the what, the how and the why. Logos is what you have to say. Pathos is your opinion or feeling about what you have to say. Ethos is that which gives you the right and authority to say it.
I showed them that stage fright resulted from paying more attention to the impression they were making on the listeners than on the words and ideas they were speaking.
By the third day of the seminar they were speaking like fast flowing rivers.
To get them used to ad libbing and speaking without fear I came up with a fiendish system. There were 30 people in the room. I divided them into an A team and a B team. I gave them all index cards and told them to write down a subject in just a word or two, or three (my vacation, books, the Statue of Liberty, etc, whatever they thought of). I set up two boxes, marked A and B, collected the cards and put them in their respective boxes. Then I had each one of the speakers in turn come up, remove a card from the other team's box, read it to themselves and start talking. Nobody thought they could do that either. But once they got started I couldn't shut them up.
I met a lot of interesting people and learned a lot of things about the business world I didn't know.
DB - The Vagabond